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An insurance agent succeeded in obtaining leave to proceed with a legal challenge against her unilateral conversion to Islam during childhood.
The Kuala Lumpur High Court this morning allowed the 40-year-old woman to commence with a judicial review to quash the conversion by her Muslim convert father.
She filed the legal challenge following the National Registration Department's (NRD) refusal to allow her to drop the term “Islam” from her MyKad.
The woman contended that her father unilaterally registered her as a Muslim when she was 10, minus the consent of her Buddhist mother.
Her parents divorced a short while after her conversion was registered at the Selangor Islamic Religious Department in 1990.
Parties in the legal matter were informed via email of the decision by High Court judge Mariana Yahya.
“Leave has been granted. The next case management (for the judicial review) is on April 8,” confirmed senior federal counsel Ahmad Hanir Hambaly @ Arwi from the Attorney-General’s Chambers, who represents the three respondents in the matter.
The respondents are the NRD director-general, the Malaysian government, and the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais).
With leave granted, the court will later set a date to hear submissions from parties on the merits of the judicial review.
Malaysiakini is attempting to reach out to the woman’s legal team over the matter.
Born in Singapore in 1980, the insurance agent, who now lives with her mother in Kuala Lumpur, said she never practiced Islam and that she followed Buddhism.
She claimed that in August last year, an officer with the NRD office in Ipoh, Perak, refused to process her application to revert to her original non-Muslim name and drop the word Islam in her identity card.
The officer had allegedly asked her to furnish an order from the Syariah Court before the NRD could process her application.
After the NRD purportedly refused to abide by a letter of demand issued by her lawyers, her legal team then filed the judicial review leave application with the High Court in Kuala Lumpur in November last year.
She is seeking multiple court declarations, among them that she is a follower and practitioner of the Buddhist faith.
She is seeking a mandamus order (judicial order for a person to perform a public or statutory duty) to order the NRD director-general to issue her a new MyKad bearing her original non-Muslim name and with the word Islam removed.
She is also seeking the same order for the government of Malaysia to ensure the NRD director-general abides by the court order.
She is further seeking a mandamus order for Mais to remove her name from the Muallaf (Muslim converts) Registry, as well as to cancel the Islamic conversion card issued on her name dated October 1990.
It was previously reported that the three respondents objected to the woman’s judicial review leave application, citing among other reasons that the legal action should have been filed within three months of her conversion. She was converted on Oct 4, 1990.