malaysia

Jakim awaits apex court decision on surname of illegitimate Muslim children

Tan Sri Othman Mustapha advised Muslims in the country to remain calm on the decision of the Appeals Court that any child conceived out-of-wedlock could use the name of the man who admits fatherhood. ― Picture by Yusof Mat IsaTan Sri Othman Mustapha advised Muslims in the country to remain calm on the decision of the Appeals Court that any child conceived out-of-wedlock could use the name of the man who admits fatherhood. ― Picture by Yusof Mat IsaPUTRAJAYA, July 29 ― The Malaysian Islamic Development Department (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, said its director-general Tan Sri Othman Mustapha.

In a statement here today, he advised Muslims in the country to remain calm on the decision of the Appeals Court that any child conceived out-of-wedlock could use the name of the man who admits fatherhood.

“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 Datuk Mohd Yazid Ramli was reported as saying any changes 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.

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki also urged the Attorney-General to represent the Federal Government in appealing the decision at the Federal Court.

Last Thursday, the Appeals Court in a landmark judgement allowed an appeal by a couple to insist that the NRD director-general replace the surname of their child now bearing the name “Abdullah” with that of the child’s father in the birth certificate.

In his judgement, Judge Datuk Abdul Rahman Sebli who was one of the three judges hearing the appeal, said the NRD director-general was not bound by any religious fatwa issued by the National Fatwa Committee on the decision regarding the name of the father of a Muslim illegitimate child.

He said the scope of jurisdiction of the NRD director-general was in civil matters and in deciding if the parents of the child fulfilled the conditions under the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1957 which included illegitimate Muslim and non-Muslim children.

Abdul Rahman said the fatwa had no legal authority and could not set the legal basis for the NRD director-general to decide the name of the illegitimate child’s father under Section 13A (2) of the act. ― Bernama

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