Change the law, says Suhakam rep after ‘bin Abdullah’ decision

The Federal Court ruled that a Muslim boy born out of wedlock cannot use his biological father’s name.

PETALING JAYA: Suhakam’s child commissioner has called for changes in the law to ensure all children, regardless of religion, enjoy the same rights.

Commenting on yesterday’s Federal Court ruling that a Muslim boy born out of wedlock cannot use his biological father’s name, Noor Aziah Mohd Awal said such a child would be stigmatised and suffer discrimination.

“This is against the best interest of the child,” she told FMT.

The Federal Court’s decision concerned a boy from Johor whose parents had applied for registration of his father’s name in the birth certificate. The National Registration Department (JPN) rejected the application on the grounds that the child was illegitimate, prompting the parents to take the matter to court.

The court, besides ruling that the boy could not use his father’s name, also ordered the JPN director-general to remove the appellation “bin Abdullah” from his birth certificate.

Suhakam child commissioner Noor Aziah Mohd Awal.

Noor Aziah said she hoped the case would move Parliament to amend the relevant laws to give Muslim and non-Muslim children equal rights.

“All children have equal rights to name, identity and nationality,” she added.

Child rights activist Hartini Zainudin accused the Federal Court of failure to take into account the best interest of the child.

She described the ruling as “outrageous” and added: “The sin is with the parents, not the child. So why are we punishing the child?”