NRD to better serve the public

Source: The Star Online

Pic from The Star Online

PETALING JAYA: The National Registration Department (NRD) will now be able to better address public needs through new powers under the amended Births and Deaths Registration Act (Act 299).

Among key changes made to Act 299 were to make it easier to register newborns, relaxing the time frame for registering births and deaths, plus obtaining a presumed death certificate in the case a body could not be found.

“Based on thorough analysis of the records of these three laws, they were never amended since their implementation,” said the NRD, referring to Act 299 and the corresponding Registration of Births and Deaths Ordinances that applied in Sabah and Sarawak.

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Apex court to decide if out-of-wedlock kids can use father’s surname

Source: FMT News

PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court will decide whether the National Registration Department (NRD) can exclude Muslim children who were born out of wedlock from bearing their father’s surname instead of “Abdullah”.

This follows the decision of a three-man bench led by Chief Justice Raus Sharif today to allow leave to appeal the application by Putrajaya.

Lawyer K Shanmuga, who is appearing for a Muslim couple and their son, had objected to the leave application, saying Section 13 of the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1957 (BDRA) applies to all illegitimate children, irrespective of race or religion.

However, Raus who sat with justices Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin and Aziah Ali, said the apex court would decide on the matter.

The three questions to be answered by the bench during the appeal are: Read more

Court dismisses NRD’s application to stay ‘bin Abdullah’ ruling

Source: The Malay Mail Online

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

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 3 — The Court of Appeal threw out today the National Registration Department’s (NRD) application to stay the court’s ruling that granted a Muslim father the right to replace his illegitimate child’s “bin Abdullah” patronym with his own name.

The father’s lawyer, K. Shanmuga, said, however, that his client did not intend to enforce the appellate court’s ruling pending the Federal Court hearing of the NRD’s application for leave to appeal the decision.

“We are going to wait and see what the Federal Court says,” Shanmuga told Malay Mail Online.

When asked if the NRD should, in any other cases, follow the court ruling that allowed Muslim fathers to give their names to their children conceived outside marriage, the lawyer said it should. 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

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

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

AG to seek shariah experts’ view on out-of-wedlock Muslim kids

Source: The Malaysian Insight 

THE Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) will study the Court of Appeal’s decision to allow a Muslim child conceived out of wedlock to carry the father’s name before deciding its next course of action.

The New Straits Times reported AGC Civil Division head Amarjeet Singh as saying that A-G Mohamed Apandi Ali would get input from various parties, including shariah experts, before appealing the ruling.

A notice to appeal the ruling at the Federal Court has been filed and the AGC will decide during the case management hearing on September 18.

“He (Apandi) said we (AGC) would discuss with the chambers’ shariah section on their views as they are the experts on this matter.  Read more

When civil courts and fatwa committees collide: The ‘bin Abdullah’ case

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Lawyer Latheefa Koya says that the Court of Appeal was right to say the NRD cannot be bound by such fatwas. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, July 29 ― The Court of Appeal’s landmark ruling this week allowing a Muslim child the right to bear his father’s name though he was conceived before his parents married has once again exposed the conflict between civil and Muslim laws in Malaysia.

Perak Mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria was reportedly outraged by the appellate court decision, claiming it had gone against the Federal Constitution which recognises Islam as the religion of the federation and should have followed a 2003 National Fatwa Committee’s decision on Muslim children conceived out of wedlock.

Harussani went on record to say that Muslims are obliged to obey Islamic laws even if “worldly laws have rejected them”.

This throws up two questions: Are civil courts legally bound to obey fatwas? Secondly, can or should civil laws be amended to be Shariah-compliant, failing which Muslims should be exempted from them? Read more