After six years, court rules Malaysian woman not Muslim

Entrance to the Federal Court in Putrajaya. Photo: Gryffindor
Entrance to the Federal Court in Putrajaya. Photo: Gryffindor

Six years ago, Rosliza Ibrahim couldn’t change her name because authorities had assumed that she was Muslim. Today, a ruling by the federal court in Putrajaya finally paved the way for her wishes. 

Judge Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat ruled today that Rosliza was never Muslim to begin with and that authorities had no documents to show that her late Buddhist mother and Muslim father was ever married when they had her. The 39-year-old was also raised in a Buddhist household. 

“We have the independent evidence in the religious authorities’ letters where they found no record of conversion of either the plaintiff or her mother to Islam,” the judge told the court today. 

The judge granted three court orders, one of which declared that Rosliza was born out of wedlock to her late mother Yap Ah Mooi and her biological father Ibrahim Hassan, who was the one who had registered her birth with the National Registration Department, who then assumed she was Muslim. 

That same department had also required Rosliza to seek permission from the Islamic authorities when she applied to change her name in 2015, which marked the start of her six-year legal battle.

The judge also said that Rosliza’s case was therefore not under the jurisdiction of Selangor’s Islamic Laws and the Sharia courts, and that Rosliza never professed Islam to be her religion.

In December, Rosliza showed letters obtained from religious authorities across Malaysia as proof that there was no record of her mother converting to Islam or marrying her father. 

Other stories to check out:

Malaysian court sentences former minister to jail for bribery over Sarawak hotel purchase

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