PUTRAJAYA: Jakim, like the national registration department (NRD), will continue with its current practice on the genealogy of illegitimate Muslim children until the Federal Court decides on the matter, says its director-general Othman Mustapha.
In a statement here today, the Jakim DG advised Muslims in the country to remain calm about the decision of the Court of Appeal on Thursday that any child conceived out-of-wedlock could use the name of the man who admits to be the father.
“Hopefully, the NRD’s efforts through the Attorney-General’s Chambers to bring the case to the Federal Court goes smoothly,” he said.
Yesterday, NRD director-general Mohd Yazid Ramli was reported as saying any change to the current practice would only be considered after the decision by the Federal Court.
He said the present practice by the department was in line with the decision of the National Fatwa Council.
Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki also urged the Attorney-General to represent the Federal Government in appealing the decision at the Federal Court.
Last Thursday, the Court of Appeal, in a landmark judgment, allowed an appeal by a couple to insist that the NRD director-general replace the surname of their child now bearing the name “Abdullah” with that of the child’s father in the birth certificate.
In his judgment, judge Abdul Rahman Sebli, who was one of the three judges hearing the appeal, said the NRD director-general was not bound by any religious fatwa issued by the National Fatwa Committee on the decision regarding the name of the father of a Muslim child who was illegitimate.
He said the scope of jurisdiction of the NRD director-general was in civil matters and in deciding if the parents of the child fulfilled the conditions under the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1957 (BDRA), which included illegitimate Muslim and non-Muslim children.
Rahman said the fatwa had no legal authority and could not set the legal basis for the NRD director-general to decide the name of the illegitimate child’s father under Section 13A (2) of the act.