41 parents fail to become parties in ‘bin Abdullah’ case

Source: Free Malaysia Today

Chief Justice Raus Sharif however allows them to become friends of the court in landmark case on whether Muslim children born out of wedlock can be given the surname of a person acknowledging himself as the father.

Picture of Raus Sharif

Picture drawn from Free Malaysia Today

PUTRAJAYA: Twenty couples and a single parent have failed to become parties in a Federal Court appeal that will decide whether a Muslim child conceived out of wedlock can take his or her father’s surname instead of “Abdullah”.

However, a five-court bench led by Chief Justice Raus Sharif allowed them to become amicus curiae (friend of the court) to assist parties in the appeal which will be heard on Feb 7.

Raus said the appeal came by way of judicial review and it was not fair for the applicants to be made interveners.

“There are various steps to follow. If we allow it, it will be side-stepping the procedures,” he said.

Senior federal counsel Shamsul Bolhassan, who appeared for the National Registration Department (NRD), its director-general and the government, was not invited to make his submission.

Lawyer Azahar Azizan Harun, who represented the applicants, later told reporters he would appear as a friend of the court.

Interveners appear as parties to the appeal and, as such, can make submissions as of right. Those with “friend of the court” status only have the privilege of addressing the court at the invitation of the bench.

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Adam’s story: How illegitimate Muslim children here carry ‘bin Abdullah’ stigma

Source: Malay Mail Online

Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

Adam is now 14, but the NRD’s policy of having illegitimate Muslim children bear the ‘bin Abdullah’ patronym is hampering him from getting a MyKad. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 9 — Adam* is like any other child in Malaysia, except the National Registration Department (NRD) wants him to ditch his father’s name and use “bin Abdullah”, a patronym that is virtually a badge of shame worn by illegitimate Muslim children.

Muslim parents Rahman* and Aisyah* married in Selangor and gave birth to Adam in the same state in 2004. Adam was issued a birth certificate and a MyKid that carried Rahman’s name with no questions asked by the NRD then.

Prepared to see their newborn child registered with “bin Abdullah” as he was born less than six months into their marriage, they were surprised and thought the department made an exception by accepting Rahman as the father’s name. Read more

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

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