High Court allows woman to challenge conversion to Islam

Image from Causeway Coast News

By John Isaac

THE Kuala Lumpur High Court here today allowed a woman’s bid to challenge her conversion to Islam, carried out unilaterally by her father when she was a child.

Judge Mariana Yahya delivered her decision after email correspondence between the woman’s lawyers and the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC), representing the National Registration Department (JPN).

Senior federal counsel Shamsul Bolhassan confirmed the court granted leave to commence a judicial review. It fixed April 8 for next case management.

The woman, born in 1980, said her father converted her when she was 10 years old. At that time, her parents were in the midst of a divorce.

According to FMT, She said her mother had never embraced Islam and never consented to her father converting her.

“Since I reached the age of maturity until today, I have been practising Buddhism and living with my mother.

“I had affirmed a statutory declaration stating my intention to reject the use of my Muslim name and that I wanted to use my Chinese birth name again,” she said.

She said that in August last year, she went to JPN in Ipoh to change her MyKad but the officer in charge refused to remove the word “Islam” from it.

“The officer told me to provide a shariah court order to support my application,” she said.

The woman said her lawyers issued a letter of demand to the department in October 2020 to issue a new MyKad but there was no response.

Subsequently, she filed for a judicial review, seeking an order against the Selangor muallaf registrar to cancel the conversion certificate.

The woman also wants JPN to issue her a new MyKad without the word “Islam” appearing on it.

The AGC had previously objected to the woman’s bid to obtain leave for a judicial review from the court, citing that civil courts have no jurisdiction to hear matters of the shariah courts.