Whether an illegitimate child whose mother is not professing the religion of Islam can be said to be professing the religion of Islam?
ROSLIZA IBRAHIM v. KERAJAAN NEGERI SELANGOR & ANOR  1 LNS 30
- Rosliza binti Ibrahim (“Rosliza”) was born at the Chinese Maternity Hospital Kuala Lumpur on 19 November 1981 to one Yap Ah Mooi (“Yap”) and one Ibrahim bin Hassan (“Ibrahim”).
- Yap’s residential address was recorded as 38B, Jalan Pasar, Pudu, Kuala Lumpur.
- There was no column for Ibrahim’s address in the birth certificate.
- Nevertheless, Ibrahim’s application for an identity card on 22 June 1982 recorded the same residential address.
- On 13 January 1994, Ibrahim submitted an application for an identity card on behalf of Rosliza.
- In that application, Ibrahim stated Rosliza’s religion to be ‘Islam’. The residential address recorded was 37, Jalan Bunga Matahari 3, Taman Maju Jaya, Kuala Lumpur and also recorded Yap’s descent as Malay.
- A year later on 14 January 1995, Ibrahim submitted an application for his new identity card where, this time, his address was recorded as 37, Jalan Bunga Matahari 3, Taman Maju Jaya, Kuala Lumpur, the same as Rosliza’s in the written application for her identity card. Ibrahim recorded his religion as ‘Islam’ and that he was married.
- Exactly a month later, Yap submitted her application for identity card, recording the same address as Ibrahim’s and Rosliza’s, her religion as ‘Buddha’, her descent as Chinese and her marital status as ‘married’.
- On 8 October 2008, Yap affirmed a statutory declaration (“SD”) to state the fact that Rosliza is her daughter, that Ibrahim and herself are her parents, that Ibrahim and herself were unmarried and lastly that Rosliza was not brought up as a Muslim.
- Yap passed away on 7 February 2009.
- It is to be noted that the address stated in Yap’s SD is different from the last known address of Ibrahim.
- Rosliza asserts that despite what Ibrahim’s documents may have shown, Ibrahim and Yap were not married at the time of her birth and that she is accordingly an illegitimate child.
- Thus, she argues that the religious status of her father cannot be regarded in the determination of her own religion. As such, she asserts that because she does not adopt the religion of her father and that she was never raised as a Muslim, she is not a person ‘professing the religion of Islam’.
- The High Court had dismissed Rosliza’s application on the grounds that she failed to prove her claim on a balance of probabilities and a strong inference was drawn based on Ibrahim and Yap’s respective residential addresses and from their respective applications for their new identity cards stating ‘married’, that the two were married to each other.
- The Court of Appeal affirmed the High Court’s decision and Rosliza appealed to the Federal Court.
FEDERAL COURT DECISION – APPEAL ALLOWED!
- The Federal Court allowed the appeal and found that Rosliza is not, as a matter of fact, a person ‘professing the religion of Islam’ because there is no proof that she is a Muslim by original faith.
- Her SD states that she was never a Muslim and that she was raised a Buddhist by her mother.
- This is also supported by Yap’s SD where she also states that she never raised Rosliza as a Muslim.
- Further, there are independent evidence in the religious authorities’ letters where they found no record of conversion of either Rosliza or her mother to Islam.
- An extract of Rosliza’s birth certificate states the following in the column for her religion: ‘Maklumat Tidak Diperoleh’ (Information Not Obtained).
- Collectively speaking, the evidence on record disclose that there is no proof that Rosliza ever professed the religion of Islam. The evidence suggests that Rosliza was raised in the Buddhist faith.