KUALA LUMPUR: Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mujahid Yusof Rawa says the government has no plans to amend the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1957 (BDRA) in the wake of the Federal Court’s decision that a Muslim boy born out of wedlock cannot use his biological father’s name.
The apex court’s decision earlier this week had drawn concern that Muslim children born out of wedlock would face stigmatisation and discrimination.
It led to Suhakam’s child commissioner Noor Aziah Mohd Awal to call for the amendment of the relevant laws in the interests of children.
The Federal Court’s decision involved parents from Johor who applied for registration of the father’s name in the birth certificate of their son. The National Registration Department (JPN) rejected the application on the grounds that the child was illegitimate, prompting the parents to take the matter to court.
The court ruled that the boy could not use his father’s name. It also ordered the JPN to remove the “bin Abdullah” in the boy’s name.
“There’s nothing solid in this issue,” said Mujahid in reference to the BDRA.
Speaking at a press conference together with Commonwealth secretary-general Patricia Scotland in conjunction with her visit here, Mujahid said the issue could be brought to Parliament if needed, so long as it was discussed democratically and in a civil manner.
He said his ministry will hold discussions with all muftis to get their views on the “bin Abdullah” issue.
Mujahid urged all parties to respect the Federal Court’s decision and avoid turning it into a racial issue.
“Debates outside will happen. The government will respect the court’s decision. The courts are also guided by existing fatwas.”
Yesterday, Penang mufti Wan Salim Wan Mohd Noor reportedly said it was not wrong to review or amend old fatwas forbidding Muslim children born out of wedlock from using their biological father’s name.
The boy was born in 2009 but his birth was only registered two years later under Section 12 of BDRA. He was born less than six months after the parents’ marriage, which is considered illegitimate under shariah law.