Friday, 23 November 2012

'Sabah NRD listing Christians as Muslims at random'
6:12PM Nov 22, 2012 in

 The National Registration Department's (NRD) act of randomly listing Christians in Sabah with "bin" or "binti" in their names as Muslims in their identity cards has come under strong attack.
 The NRD should not be doing this, the Malaysian Consultative Council on Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) said in a statement today
"The NRD should note the historical position that in Sabah, 'bin' and 'binti' do not necessarily mean they are Muslims," MCCBCHST explained.
 MCCBCHST criticised the NRD action as an act of violating the constitutional rights and fundamental liberties of the individuals concerned.
 "The NRD's further decision that it will continue to list such bumiputera Christians as Muslims until they have obtained an order from a syariah court to say that they are not Muslims is a violation of the affected persons constitutional rights and fundamental liberties as enshrined in Articles 11(1) and 12(4) of the federal constitution," the interfaith organisation said.
Case taken to the wrong court
 The council cited the case filed by Sabahan Intim binti Lambaran and her two daughters as an example, stressing that the fact that they were baptised as Christians and never at any time were Muslims should be sufficient for the NRD to list them as Christians in their MyKad.
 "In the present case, Intim binti Lambatan should have filed a writ in the High Court to compel NRD to list them as Christians in their MyKad and not in the syariah court, as the syariah court has no jurisdiction over non-Muslims," the MCCBCHST statement said.
 The case is still pending before the Syariah High Court in Kudat, after the NRD refused to change the status of her religion, even though the Sabah Islamic Affairs Department has written to the court to confirm that Intim's name is not on record in the Islamisation register.
 Another recent case highlighted by MCCBCHST is that of Siti Hasnah Vangarama Abdullah (right), who wants her religion to be changed to Hindu because her parents converted her to Islam in 1983, when she was an infant.
 Despite the Muslim Welfare Organisation of Malaysia (Perkim) and Penang Islamic Religious Council stating that Vangarama was properly converted and that her case must be tried by the syariah court, the High Court has ruled that the matter must be decided by the civil court.
 The Court of Appeal also ruled that there are important constitutional issues to be decided in Vangarama's case and it should therefore come under the jurisdiction of the civil court.
 Based on this ruling by the appellate court, MCCBHST said, the NRD has acted unconstitutionally and in an arbitrary manner in the Sabah instances.
 It called on Sabahans to demand accountability from their government and elected leaders as they are the ones who have allowed this matter to take place by remaining passive.
"MCCBCHST therefore urges the home minister to direct the NRD to rectify and reflect the true religion of the aggrieved parties upon notification, without reference to any third party," the statement added.

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