20 October 2010

Fuss-free way to change religion data in MyKad


Baptism certificate not required


Christians who wish to change their religion to Christianity in their MyKad data are not required to tender any legal documents, such as baptism certificates.

They only need to fill in 'Borang A' to effect the change. (Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara's 'Borang A' is available on the NECF website, click link to download).

This was confirmed at a recent meeting between NECF Malaysia and top officials from the National Registration Department (NRD). However, this is not applicable if they had been registered as Muslims.

For Muslim or persons who have converted to Islam, the provisions of the respective State's administration of Islamic Law enactment apply. Under these enactments for the most part of the 13 States of Malaysia, conversion back to one's former religion or to any other religion is either: (a) not allowed under Islamic laws; or (b) a criminal offence which means he/she may be fined, whipped, detained or imprisoned under Islamic laws.

When people convert to Islam, their person's MyKad will record the conversion and the front of their MyKad will bear the word "Islam".

Even if the person no longer practises Islam, he/she may be regarded as as a Muslim and may be subject to fined, whipped, detained or imprisoned for violation of Syariah laws, such as praying in church and eating in public during the Muslim fasting month, etc.

It must be noted that when a person converts to Islam, that person does not gain Bumiputera status as some have mistakenly come to believe. (Those with Bumiputera status get special privileges such as discounts for new house purchases and easier access to enter public universities.)

At the meeting with NRD officials, NECF also raised the issue of East Malaysian Christians whose religion in their MyKad is recorded as "Islam" simply because their names carry "bin" and "binte".

This is a prevailing problem in Sabah and Sarawak where many indigenous citizens have names that carry "bin" and "binte". The NRD automatically assigns their religion as "Islam" even though many of them are Christians.

The NRD confirmed that those who are affected could change the data in their MyKad provided they had obtained clearance from the Syariah Court.

During the meeting, NRD officials admitted they were aware of this problem and have thus arranged for mobile NRD units to help those who wish to change their MyKad religion record.

NECF Secretary-General Sam Ang urged Christians who face this problem to get their religion changed to "Christianity" in their MyKad as soon as possible and to persevere until the change is done.

"This is important as it will contribute towards accurate statistics which is critical when we advocate on issues affecting the Malaysian Church, as well as to avoid undue complications, misunderstandings and conflicts with the Islamic authorities," he explained.

The officials also confirmed at the meeting that children of Malaysian women born of foreign husbands are automatically Malaysians provided the couples have Malaysian marriage certificates before the birth of their children.

Borang A

































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