National Registration Dept. Objects M’sian’s Bid To Nullify Her Childhood Conversion to Islam

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A general view of the National Registration Department in Putrajaya (source: Malay Mail)

A legal bid to strike down a one-sided childhood conversion of a Malaysian woman when she was 10 years old has recently been met by objections from The National Registration Department (NRD), the government and Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais).

According to Malaysiakini, the woman who is currently 40 years old, made a court filing last year that seeks to nullify her childhood Islamic conversion that occurred in 1990.

She claimed that her Muslim convert father converted her when she was 10 years old, without the consent of her mother, who continues to follow the Buddhist faith. Her parents met with a divorce in 1993. She was then raised by her mother and said that she has never practised Islam, and instead followed Buddhism.

For illustration purposes only (source: Astro Ulagam)

However, NRD, the government and Mais are objecting against it by citing three main reasons why.

One of the reasons was that the legal bid was filed out of time, as her conversion was done on 4 Oct 1990.

They claimed that the time period for the filing of such judicial review leave application should have been filed within three months of the conversion and that the filing period expired on 4 Jan 1991. Since it was in the absence of an extension of time by the court, then the court has no jurisdiction to hear the application.

They also contended that the civil High Court in Kuala Lumpur has no jurisdiction to hear a legal action involving a matter falling within the jurisdiction of the Syariah Court.

The third reason is due to the 2007 Federal Court legal precedent, the woman has no arguable case and that the NRD is justified in asking her to first get the Syariah Court to determine her religious status. The trio even referred to the 2007 Federal Court decision, which dismissed the Lina Joy’s appeal to remove the word “Islam” from her identity card (IC).

(source: KLBC)

This whole situation started out when the woman tried to revert back to her original non-Muslim name and drop the word “Islam” in her identity card back in August 2020.

An officer with the NRD office in Ipoh, Perak refused to process her application and allegedly asked her to furnish an order from the Syariah Court before the NRD could process her application.

After the NRD purportedly refused to abide by a letter of demand issued by her lawyers, her legal team then filed the judicial review leave application which led to the recent update.