Can a parent’s details be registered on an illegitimate child’s birth certificate?
LEOW FOOK KEONG (L) v. PENDAFTAR BESAR BAGI KELAHIRAN DAN KEMATIAN MALAYSIA, JABATAN PENDAFTARAN NEGARA, MALAYSIA & ANOR  1 LNS 1761
- Mr. Leow (“the Father”) successfully procured an order of Court declaring him as the biological father of a child born on 16.7.2015 at Sunway Medical Centre, Selangor (“the Child”).
- A DNA test ordered by the Court had earlier revealed that the Father is the biological father of the Child.
- Together with the declaratory order, the Father obtained regular access to the Child which he continues to have to this date. There were no appeals to these orders.
- According to the Father, the Child is from a four-year live-in relationship that he had with Ms. Liau (“the Mother”).
- The Father and the Mother were not married to each other.
- The Mother was married to someone else with whom she had another child at the time of the birth of the Child.
- The Mother had registered the birth of the Child without the Father’s knowledge leading to the particulars of the father of the child being recorded as ‘information unavailable’.
- The Father claimed that had he known of the registration, he would have attended the same and had his details recorded.
- In short, the Child is illegitimate.
- The Father claimed that the Mother had failed to provide relevant information about the father of the Child at the material time of registration of the birth of the Child despite having such information.
- The Father also claimed that the Registrar-General of Births and Deaths at the National Registration Department’s (“the NRD”) register which contains incomplete particulars on the father of the Child should be updated to reflect the declaratory order granted by the High Court, that he is the biological or natural father of the Child.
- Since the NRD failed to update the particulars of the Father in their register and the birth certificate of the Child, the Father brought a suit against NRD and the Mother seeking an order that the information be updated.
- Among others, Father sought for his details to be registered on the Child’s birth certificate and for the Child’s surname to be registered to the Father’s surname.
- The High Court granted the Father’s application.
- The Court of Appeal set the orders of the High Court aside.
- The Father only pursued for his details to be registered on the Child’s birth certificate in the appeal to the Federal Court.
FEDERAL COURT DECISION - APPEAL ALLOWED!
- The Federal Court allowed the appeal and the decision of the Court of Appeal is set aside.
- The Federal Court is of the view that the Father’s request is fair and proper as the declaratory order of the Court is valid and remains effective. With that declaratory order of the Court, the ‘information unavailable’ is now undisputedly available, that the Father is the biological father of the Child.
- The new information ought to be reflected in the public record, that is the register, that the true status of the Child is corrected to reflect accurate information as regards the biological father.