PETALING JAYA: A woman’s application to change her teenage son’s religious status from Muslim to Buddhist has been rejected by the High Court in Kuching.
The boy, who turns 18 on Wednesday, has a Muslim name in his MyKad but his mother said he had practised Buddhism since a child and his father did not object.
Justice Zaleha Rose Pandin said the 52-year-old mother’s application was tantamount to a renunciation of the Islamic faith and the civil court could not hear the matter.
“Having perused the facts carefully, the child was born as a Muslim. The civil court is not clothed with jurisdiction when it comes to renouncing the Islamic faith. It is under the purview of the shariah court.
“Notwithstanding that the child did not profess or practise or was raised as a Muslim, one cannot make unilateral declarations. There are processes on the matter,” she said, according to The Borneo Post.
The mother filed an originating summons in August to seek a court declaration that she has the right to determine her son’s religion and upbringing.
The boy turns 18 on Wednesday, attaining the age of majority. The law gives parents the right to determine the religion of children who are minors.
The woman, a divorcee, wanted the court to order the national registration department to record changes in her son’s MyKad regarding his religion.
Her son, who was born in Sabah but now lives in Sarawak, reportedly practised Buddhism since he was a child. The woman claimed the father of the boy did not object to their son following Buddhism.
She also claimed that the teen had never attended Islamic classes in school and does not want to be deemed a Muslim.
The directors of JPN’s births, deaths and adoptions as well as identity card divisions, Sarawak’s registrar of births and deaths, and the federal government were also named as defendants.
The mother was represented by lawyers Clarice Chan and Joshua Baru.