There’s good news and there’s bad news — Azmi Sharom

Source: The Star Online

BY AZMI SHAROM

Dr. Azmi Sharom is a law teacher.

First came a surprise ban, but it was followed by an inspiring, heartwarming Court of Appeal decision.

THE banning of the book Breaking the Silence: Voices of Moderation – Islam in a Constitutional Democracy came as a surprise to me.

I wasn’t surprised that it was banned. The Government has banned around 2,000 books since 1960. It’s not exactly a bestseller.

Full disclosure here folks: I have a chapter in this book. I can hardly remember what I wrote, but it was about fundamental liberties in the Federal Constitution.

Anyway, the point I am trying to make is that the book is a collection of measured and scholarly articles, with a foreword by former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, not some rabble-rousing diatribe. And yet it was deemed to be prejudicial to national security.

No explanation was given how this is so. Read more

Constitutional view on Bin Abdullah case — Shad Saleem Faruqi

Source: The Star Online

BY SHAD SALEEM FARUQI

Shad Saleem Faruqi - file pic

Shad Saleem Faruqi – file pic

Islam is like a mansion with many rooms, and diversity abounds in Islamic jurisprudence.

COURT of Appeal judges Datuk Abdul Rahman Sebli, Datuk Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat and Puan Sri Zaleha Yusof must be congratulated for their courageous and principled decision in the “Bin Abdullah” case.

Their verdict is based on sound principles of administrative law and has far-reaching, positive implications for our constitutional system.

The issue, in this case, was whether an illegitimate Muslim child can carry the name of his father. Read more

Bar: Contempt of court to continue using ‘bin Abdullah’

Source: FMT News

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Bar says the National Registration Department’s (NRD) decision to continue adding the surname “bin Abdullah” when registering a Muslim child whose parents are not married, is in contempt of court and cannot be condoned.

In a statement today, Bar president George Varughese noted that the government had filed an appeal against the Court of Appeal decision, adding that this was within its rights.

“However, until and unless there is an order for a stay of execution of that decision and/or the decision is reversed by the Federal Court, it is incumbent on all parties to respect and comply with the decision,” he said.

On July 25, the Court of Appeal said the NRD had acted outside its powers when it used the surname “Abdullah” to register a Muslim child born out of wedlock, against the mother’s wish to use the father’s name. Read more

Lawyer: Act has to be amended to insert ‘bin Abdullah’

Source: FMT News 

PETALING JAYA: A family law practitioner today said Parliament would have to amend the Births and Deaths Registration Act (BDRA) if Muslims do not want illegitimate children to carry the surname of their fathers.

However, lawyer Balwant Singh Sidhu said this may prejudice the rights of the natural fathers.

“It will also prejudice the rights of the child as he or she may want to know who the biological father is,” he said.

Balwant said such an amendment may also be challenged as being unconstitutional.

“As the law stands, BDRA imposes a strict statutory duty on the National Registration Department (NRD) to record all deaths and births, legitimate or otherwise, where particulars are available.” Read more

Perak mufti accuses Perlis counterpart of ‘permitting adultery’

Source: The Malaysian Insight 

PERLIS Mufti Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin seems to be permitting (menghalalkan) adultery though his support of the Court of Appeal ruling allowing children conceived out of wedlock to carry their father’s name.

Perak Mufti Harussani Zakaria said Malaysia did not need to “go against the flow”  when it came to children conceived out of wedlock, as Muslim scholars had decided on the issue a long time ago.

“This is a new opinion that is veering towards permitting adultery (menghalalkan zina). The opinion by the Perlis mufti is akin to permitting adultery,” Harussani said in Kuala Lumpur today.

“I hope these ulama are careful. We have to adhere to long-established opinions.”

Last week, Asri was reported to have supported a unanimous ruling by three-judge Court of Appeal bench that allowed children conceived out of wedlock to carry their father’s name. The ruling has polarised opinion among religious scholars, lawyers and activists. Read more

Lawyers: Slippery slope if NRD can openly defy court decision

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, July 31 — Any government agency’s refusal to abide by legal court rulings would damage the rule of law, said lawyers.

Judgment says the NRD director-general had overstepped his powers in relying on a 1981 fatwa. Pic drawn from FMT News.

The legal practitioners all disapproved of the National Registration Department’s (NRD) rebuff of a decision allowing illegitimate Muslim children to bear their biological fathers’ names, saying this was blatantly contemptuous of the Court of Appeal.

Short of securing a stay of the ruling, they insist the agency must observe the appellate court’s decision despite contesting the outcome.

“The NRD’s decision to disregard the decision of the CoA is illegal and in contempt. There is no justifiable excuse as to why the decision of the CoA is not immediately adhered to,” Datuk Geethan Ram Vincent told Malay Mail Online when contacted. Read more

Zahid told to respect judicial process on naming out-of-wedlock children

Source: FMT News 

PETALING JAYA: Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has been told to respect the country’s judicial process instead of making critical remarks against the Court of Appeal’s decision on the naming of Muslim children born out of wedlock.

PKR central committee member Latheefa Koya said the courts should be allowed to decide on the matter impartially on the basis of the law and the Federal Constitution, without unnecessary positions being taken by government leaders on the issue.

“I have never come across a case of an instance of a deputy PM showing such gross disrespect to the judicial process,” she said.

“It is clear Zahid is trying to make political capital out of this case, with the general elections around the corner. It is most unfair as this involves the lives and future of innocent children,” she said in a statement today. Read more

DPM supports NRD’s move to file appeal against ‘bin Abdullah’ decision

Source: The Malay Mail Online 

KUALA LUMPUR, July 30 — Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi agrees with the move taken by the National Registration Department (NRD) to file an appeal against the case of illegitimate Muslim children to the Federal Court.

He said at the moment, the NRD was carrying out its tasks according to the Fatwa Committee of the National Council for Islamic Affairs’ ruling which did not allow children conceived out of wedlock to take the name of the father.

“We know a law is a law. The Home Ministry, especially the NRD, should adhere to the decision of the National Fatwa Council and as such, we are appealing to a higher court so that the decision (of the Court of Appeal) is cancelled as only legitimate children could be named after the father,” he said when speaking at an Aidilfitri celebration with the Malabari community in Selayang near here yesterday night. Read more

Jakim awaits apex court’s decision on ‘bin Abdullah’ ruling

Source: FMT News 

PUTRAJAYA: Jakim, like the national registration department (NRD), will continue with its current practice on the genealogy of illegitimate Muslim children until the Federal Court decides on the matter, says its director-general Othman Mustapha.

National Registration Department director-general Datuk Yazid Ramli (left) said children conceived out of wedlock would not get to bear their father’s name, despite the Court of Appeal’s landmark decision. — Bernama pic

In a statement here today, the Jakim DG advised Muslims in the country to remain calm about the decision of the Court of Appeal on Thursday that any child conceived out-of-wedlock could use the name of the man who admits to be the father.

“Hopefully, the NRD’s efforts through the Attorney-General’s Chambers to bring the case to the Federal Court goes smoothly,” he said.

Yesterday, NRD director-general Mohd Yazid Ramli was reported as saying any change to the current practice would only be considered after the decision by the Federal Court.

He said the present practice by the department was in line with the decision of the National Fatwa Council. Read more

Art Harun: NRD’s ‘bin Abdullah’ move is contempt of court

Source: FMT News 

PETALING JAYA: The National Registration Department’s (NRD) decision to continue the practice of adding the surname “bin/binti Abdullah” to a Muslim child born out of wedlock or within six months of his/her parent’s marriage, constitutes a contempt of court, says a lawyer.

Azhar Harun, better known as Art Harun, claimed the decision showed an utter contempt towards the judiciary, with the NRD director-general Yazid Ramli insisting on continuing the practice which had been outlawed through a ruling made by the Court of Appeal on Thursday.

“We have a government which does not respect the laws enacted by the Parliament, and then it goes on to ignore the judgment by the Judiciary.

“The rule of law, which is supposed to be executed by the court and practised by all, especially government institutions, will be nothing but an accessory,” Art wrote in a strongly-worded statement posted on his Facebook page today.

He added that such contempt only weakened the status of the judiciary and the rule of law in the country. Read more