PETALING JAYA: The National Registration Department (NRD) today said it will continue the practice of adding the surname “bin Abdullah” when registering a Muslim child whose parents are not married.
Its director-general, Yazid Ramli, said the department had filed an appeal with the Federal Court through the Attorney-General’s Chambers, following a recent Court of Appeal decision against the practice.
“Any changes to the practice will depend on the Federal Court’s ruling on the matter,” he said.
Yesterday, the Court of Appeal explained that the NRD had acted outside its powers when it used the surname “Abdullah” to register a Muslim child born out of wedlock, against the mother’s wish to use the father’s name.
In a written judgment, delivered two months after the court ruled in favour of the parents of the child, it also questioned the practice of adding the surname “bin Abdullah” to the names of such children.
“We believe Islam does not condone such open and public humiliation of an innocent child,” wrote Justice Abdul Rahman Sebli, one of the three members of the bench.
Rahman said the NRD director-general had acted irrationally by registering the child with the surname “Abdullah” in the birth certificate, against the wishes of the mother.
In a statement today, Yazid defended the NRD’s actions, stating it was adhering to a High Court ruling on the matter.
The move was also in line with the stand taken by the National Fatwa Council, he added.
Rahman had also said that although the NRD’s practice was based on two fatwas (religious edicts) issued by the fatwa body in 1981 and 2003, it was in conflict with Section 13A(2) of the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1957 (BDRA), which allows the father of an illegitimate child to put his name as the child’s surname.
He also said the fatwa was to reaffirm the child’s status on issues of inheritance and family links in matters related to marriage, and not to “announce to the whole world” that the child was illegitimate.
Rahman said while the fatwa had the force of law in shariah jurisprudence, it had nothing to do with the NRD director-general’s statutory duty under the BDRA to register births and deaths in the states of Peninsular Malaysia.