KUCHING, Jan 21: The Human Rights Right Commission Malaysia (Suhakam) Sarawak Office had received complaints from indigenous communities who wanted to change the religious status on their new MyKad.
In highlighting the issue, Sarawak Suhakam Commissioner Datuk Dr Madeline Berma said, non-Muslim applicants who never professed and practise Islam were ‘administratively converted’ to ‘Islam’ and officially stated in their new MyKad, due to individuals’ concerned have ‘bin or ‘binti’ in their MyKad.
Such situation had complicated the process of issuance of other important documents.
“They faced delays and bureaucratic red tapes in their efforts to apply for the correction of mistakes or make changes in their identity card,” Madeline said in a statement issued here today
She added that there were cases of school children who were forced to wear baju kurung and tudung just because it is stated in their MyKid that they are Muslims.
“They also have to attend Islamic religious classes at the primary and secondary school levels when in the reality, these children have never practice Islamic teachings from their early age. This problem usually stems from cases of divorce between couples who were converted and professed Islam for marriage purposes.
“The children born out of this marriages were registered as Muslim. When the marriage fails, the converted spouse opted out and requested for a change in their religious status in MyKad and the religious status of their children in MyKid choice. The children (who followed their non-Muslim parent) become victims of this circumstances.” She said.
As such, Suhakam urged that the National Registration Department (NRD) should make the necessary correction of their religious status in MyKad so that they don’t have to go through a complicated process if the offense or negligence is committed by NRD officers and staff themselves,” she said.
Madeline reiterated that Suhakam recognised and admitted that this issue is highly sensitive.
She also called for greater engagements and dialogues among religious authorities, government agencies, community leaders, public intellectuals and NGOs involving the full range of views about this “changing of religious status” geared towards fostering understanding, acceptance and tolerance.
Madeline reiterated that these engagements and dialogues should and will be underscored by knowledge, compassion and empathy instead of ignorance, fear and prejudices. — DayakDaily