PUTRAJAYA: The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) will compile input from parties before proceeding to appeal a ruling that allows a child conceived by Muslim parents out of wedlock not to carry the “Abdullah” surname.
A notice to appeal the decision at the Federal Court has been filed and the A-GC will make a decision during the case management hearing on Sept 18 .
AGC Civil Division head Datuk Amarjeet Singh said this at the Federal Court here yesterday. He said Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali would study the ruling and get input from various parties before deciding their next course of action.
“He (Apandi) said that we (AGC) would discuss with the Syariah section on their views as they were the experts on this matter.
“By the time the case management is up (on Sept 18) at the Federal Court (on the matter), we will decide whether we want to proceed,” he said.
A three-man Court of Appeal panel in its landmark judgment on Thursday, unanimously made the decision after allowing an appeal by a 7-year-old boy and his parents.
Judge Datuk Abdul Rahman Sebli, who presided, wrote in his judgment that the National Registration Department (NRD) director-general had acted irrationally and outside the scope of his power in registering “Abdullah” as the boy’s last name in the birth certificate and in setting aside the parents’ wish to register the father’s name.
He said the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1957 (BDRA) made no distinction between a Muslim child and non-Muslim child and Section 13A (2) did not say that an illegitimate Muslim child must be treated differently from a non-Muslim child when it comes to the registration of a surname.
Also presiding were judges Datuk Tengku Maimum Tuan Mat and Datuk Zaleha Yusof.
National Registration Department director-general Datuk Mohd Yazid Ramli said the department maintained its stand against the decision to allow any Muslim child born out of wedlock to carry his or her biological father’s name.
“The High Court had previously ruled that under Islamic law, it is not permissable to allow a child conceived out of wedlock to carry the name of his biological father, in view of the fact that he was born less than six months from the date of the parents’ marriage.
“Therefore, NRD’s action is in line with the convocation of the National Fatwa Council,” he said yesterday.
Accordingly, Yazid said, NRD’s implementation in relation to Muslim children born out of wedlock was maintained.
“Any amendments to the
current practice will only be considered after the decision of the Federal Court is obtained,” he said.
As for the Syariah Lawyers Association of Malaysia (PGSM), its president Musa Awang said it would submit an application to intervene or observe proceedings if the appeal went to the Federal Court and offer their arguments.
Musa said the ruling created complications when it came to marriage and inheritance, as the child would not be identified as a child born out of wedlock and there would be long-term consequences.
PGSM was of the opinion
that problems such as these should be avoided from the
beginning by using Abdullah
or other accepted choices as the child’s surname, instead of making a ruling that would cause more complications down the road, he said. Additional reporting by Aina Nasa