PETALING JAYA: PKR Wanita chief Zuraida Kamaruddin has urged Muslim scholars and the shariah courts to explore ways to ensure the well-being of children born out of wedlock.
She said the children did not deserve to be stigmatised for the actions of their parents.
In a statement issued today, Zuraida gave three recommendations on how this could be achieved.
The first was to amend the current Islamic Family Law to reflect justice towards women and children involved in “inappropriate relationships”.
The second was to insert clear provisions to make these men shoulder equal responsibilities.
The third was to introduce an upbringing contract between the biological father and the child until the age of 16.
Recently, the Court of Appeal said the National Registration Department (NRD) had acted outside its powers when it used the surname “bin Abdullah” to register a Muslim child born out of wedlock, against the mother’s wish to use the father’s name.
Zuraida said the naming of the father in the birth certificate was less important than the welfare of the child.
She advised women who sought to include the name of the father in the birth certificate to refer to the shariah courts and not the civil courts as this was considered a family matter.
“Children who bear their mother’s names must not be made to feel any different from those who carry their father’s names.
“These children are cared for and raised by their mother single-handedly.
“Instead of feeling ashamed, children of unmarried mothers should feel proud of their mother for her dedication and determination to suffer through society’s harsh treatment.
“This, in so many ways, is proof that Muslim women, too, are empowered, can be independent, responsible and self-sufficient without the help of irresponsible partners and husbands.”
She said there was no reason to fight for the father’s name if the father did not contribute to the child’s welfare and upbringing.
“Religion aside, raising children is the responsibility of both parents and the name on the birth certificate is secondary.
“We should make it a priority that these children have a conducive environment to grow up in and are equipped with a good education for a brighter future.
“Let us be reminded that names do not make us into better people but it is the attitude towards any issue that will make us better and stronger to face any challenges.”