KUALA LUMPUR: Registration of unique names is allowed, but parents are encouraged to seek the advice of the National Registration Department (NRD).
A NRD spokesperson said while the department did not impose restrictions or conditions over the registrations of names, it hoped parents would avoid identifying their child with names that carry a negative connotation.
For parents who insist on giving their child extraordinary names, NRD has provided a guideline for two categories of names — objectionable and inappropriate (undesirable).
“The guideline is for cases where there are parents who want to name their child with a name that is not recommended by NRD,” the spokesperson said.
She said in the case of Abi Amin Mahayadin, 40, and his wife, Nor Faridah Abd Rahim, 25, who named their children after fruits, this fell under the guideline’s “undesirable names” category.
The couple had named their 6-year-old son Muhammad Dhury Yan (inspired by the durian) while their 1-year-old daughter was named Nur Rambutt’an (after the rambutan).
“In such cases, we would advise the parents. But we will not object if they insist on registering the names. They have to provide a sworn statement saying they agreed to register the said names,” she said.
According to her, other examples of undesirable names that had been previously submitted to NRD were “Cempaka Nan Anggun” and “Yang Chantique Manees”.
Under the “objectionable names” category; names that carry honorary titles (given by a governing body, such as Tun, Tan Sri and Datuk), inherited titles (Syarifah, Syed, Tengku, Raja); positions (haji, mufti, captain, ministers); professional titles (Doctor, Professor); warrior names (Pendikar, Panglima) were not allowed.
Added to the list are names with sexual references, names that carried bad connotations, such as malang (unlucky) or haram (forbidden), and multiple names using aliases.
For inherited names like Megat, one of the parents must bear the title and the marriage be legal. Names that use just letters of the alphabets, like ABC, are discouraged.
For undesirable or inappropriate names, NRD listed animals, insects and food (fruits, vegetables, meat), names that are synonymous with being funny (short, skinny), weather or natural events like rain, colours and digits or a combination of letters and digits.
The list also discouraged naming children after jewellery or clothes, and specified names under the Arab, Mandarin, Tamil languages. For example, Narul means hell in Arabic, while Ah Pooi, Bung Sart have negative meanings. Names like Koran, and Pichandi in Tamil are deemed inappropriate.
Should parents wish to change the name of their child, NRD gives a period of one year after the child’s birth for them to do so.
Meanwhile, the culture of unique names started in the 12th century, said Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Institute of Ethnic Studies Principal Fellow Professor Datuk Dr Teo Kok Seong.
He said, for example, Malay parents in those days named their children based on prominent features at birth, such as bulat (round) or putih (fair).
“They also tend to name their children based on prominent figures or influences in Islam. The name Muhammad, for instance, is based on the prophet, while Nur, which means light, is associated with goodness.
“However, over recent times, there is the trend of naming children with unique names based on the character of a film or novel like Azura, or even celebrities like Siti Nurhaliza,” he added.
Teo said although some names sound unique, parents were advised to think wisely as their child would bear the name for the rest of his life.