PETALING JAYA: The National Registration Department (NRD) has pointed out that the 159,275 children born out of wedlock in Malaysia from 2013-2015 were all from different religions.
A department spokesman told Berita Harian that the department did not include religion in the children’s data.
The spokesperson was clarifying a Berita Harian report on Sept 13 that 159,275 illegitimate children were Muslims.
The report had created concern and shock, with many urging steps be taken to improve religious guidance and sex education.
The NRD spokesman further explained the definition of illegitimate children for Muslims, according to Islamic enactments. This included babies born to parents without a valid Islamic marriage certificate or born less than six lunar months from the date of the mother’s marriage.
“Only the details of the child and mother are in the birth certificate.
“The father’s details will only be added after confirmation of the marriage by the Islamic religious departments,” the spokesman said.
In the case of non-Muslims, a child is considered illegitimate if the parents are not married according to civil law, the spokesman added.
Yesterday, Berita Harian published the annual breakdown of illegitimate children in the country, with 53,492 births in 2013, 54,614 in 2014 and 51,169 last year.
A survey on youths’ sexual and reproductive health, by Durex and Perspective Strategies released last May, said the government’s sex education has failed to help create awareness on safe sex among a majority of young people.