KUALA LUMPUR: The government has no plans to amend the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1957 (BDRA), following a new ruling by the Federal Court.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Seri Dr Mujahid Yusof said there is nothing solid for now that warrants an amendment to the Act.
According to him, the government respects the decision made on the “bin Abdullah” case by the Federal Court that a Muslim child conceived out of wedlock cannot bear his father’s name.
“The Federal Court was guided by the existing fatwa (edicts), although it was not gazetted,” he said at a press conference held to conclude a working visit by Commonwealth secretary-general Patricia Scotland to Malaysia today.
Mujahid, however, acknowledged that the matter will continue to be debated by the public, as it touches on many issues.
“Let the public debate it, but at the end of the day, the religious authorities will come to a consensus, which will be used by the court as a guide in the future,” he said, adding that the religious authorities will be called to discuss the matter.
Mujahid also urged all parties not to use the Federal Court’s decision to incite hatred or raise narrow racial and religious issues.
On Thursday, the Federal Court in a majority 4-3 decision ruled that a Muslim child conceived out of wedlock cannot carry his father’s name.
The child in question was born less than six months after his parents’ marriage, which makes him illegitimate under Syariah Law.
The parents had applied to the National Registration Department (NRD) under Section 13 of BDRA to have the father's name on their child's birth certificate, but the NRD refused on grounds that the child is illegitimate, despite the application being made.
The parents then filed a judicial review application at the High Court, which was dismissed on Aug 4, 2016.
On May 25, 2017, the Court of Appeal allowed their judicial review to compel the NRD director-general to replace the child’s surname “Abdullah” with the name of the child’s father in the birth certificate.
Yesterday, it was reported that Penang mufti Datuk Seri Wan Salim Wan Mohd Noor had called for a review on the 1981 fatwa by the National Fatwa Committee that illegitimate Muslim children cannot carry their fathers’ names.
He said any fatwa that has independent reasoning could be reviewed, depending on changes in time, place and situation.