Birth certificates to include details of adoptive, biological parents — Fatimah

Fatimah delivering her speech.

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KUCHING, Nov 12: Details of adoptive and biological parents will be included in birth certificates effective Jan 1, next year.

Welfare, Community Well being, Women, Family and Childhood Development minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah said the state government as approved this amendment on July 11 this year.

The details, in accordance to the Second Schedule (Extract From The Central Register of the Adoption (Central Registry) Regulations 1960, is part of the state government’s effort to resolve the “Sarawak Connection” issues under the Adoption Ordinance (1958 Edition) (Cap 91)

“We are looking at ways to resolve and provide for more clarity because it is one that rest on interpretation of the Adoption Ordinance.

“As to the particular ongoing court cases in question, I assured that the ministry are looking into ways to settle the matter amicably, with the best interest of the child in mind,” she said in her ministerial winding-up speech at the DUN sitting here today.

Fatimah was responding to Irene Chang (DAP-Bukit Assek), who asked on the standard operating procedure (SOP) for the adoption process for abandoned children, whose parents are unknown and are unable to prove their “Sarawak connection” to be legally adopted by their de facto parents.

The minister said the state acknowledged that the particular section of the said Ordinance cited, which may be capable of different interpretation.

On Nov 7, Chang told the august House that there are criteria to be met for a successful adoption, one of which was that the child involved must be born in Sarawak and have a Sarawak connection.

“This makes it impossible for these children to ever succeed in being adopted because it has been a practice for the past few years that as long as the biological parents are not able to be traced, these children would be categorised as ‘Bukan Warganegara’ (non-citizen), not ‘Bukan Ditentukan’ (Not Determined) as previously,” she said.

Meanwhile, on the request to raise the current age limit of adoption from 18 to 21 years old, Fatimah said the state Cabinet has decided not to approve this proposal on Aug 22, because Section 10 of the Adoption Ordinance (1958 Edition) (Cap 91) provides the power to Majlis Mesyuarat Kerajaan Negeri (MMKN) to make rules to regulate adult adoption.

“However, should the adat (customs) allow it, the ministry through collaboration with the relevant government agencies and stakeholders, will come up with the rules,” she said. — DayakDaily