Crime & Courts

Court dismisses Orang Asli woman's lawsuit to challenge the legality of her conversion

KUALA LUMPUR: A 30-year-old Orang Asli woman failed to challenge the legality of her conversion to Islam when she was only two-year-old.

The Kuantan High Court recently dismissed her originating summons on the grounds that matters pertaining to renunciation must be determined by the Syariah Court.

The plaintiff is an Orang Asli from the Jakun tribe who was born out of wedlock on Nov 27, 1993.

On Nov 4, 1995, the plaintiff's mother converted to Islam and was given an Islamic conversion certificate by the Pahang Religious and Malay Customs Council (MUIP).

Her father is a Muslim.

The plaintiff contended that her parents never gave their consent at any time for their daughter to convert to Islam.

However, the plaintiff's status in her MyKad is registered as Islam and was given an Islamic name.

The woman argued that she never embraced Islam and never recited the Syahadah as she was only two-years-old on Nov 14, 1995.

She also contended that she consistently practiced the customs and beliefs of the Jakun tribe.

Judge Datuk Zainal Azman Ab. Aziz, in his judgment, said according to the Pahang state fatwa, an underage children will follow the religion of the mother or father who has embraced Islam.

"Thus, the court ruled that the plaintiff is a Muslim as defined under Section 2(1)(d) of the Administration of Islamic Law Enactment 1991 (Pahang) read together with Section 103 of the same enactment as well as Section 86 of the Islamic Family Law Enactment 2005.

"The issue of consent from the plaintiff's parents is not relevant because her father is a Muslim and she is under the custody of her mother who is also a Muslim.

"The plaintiff has failed to provide any evidence that she was raised in accordance with the customs and beliefs of the indigenous people," he said.

Zainal Azman said it was clear that the plaintiff has been a Muslim and was raised in accordance with this religion by her mother when she converted to Islam.

"Therefore, the plaintiff's application, which pertains to her request to leave the Islamic faith, fall within the jurisdiction of the Syariah Court.

"The Syariah Court has full jurisdiction in cases related to renunciation, and as such, this court has no jurisdiction to decide on the reliefs sought by the plaintiff," he added.

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