(Astro Awani) – The National Registration Department (NRD) stressed it has no authority to amend the Muslim religion status stated on the identity card of any Malaysian citizen, who in their records have been confirmed as Muslims, without any confirmation from the Syariah Court.
According to NRD, in the event an individual claims to be non-Muslim but the department’s records confirmed he or she is a Muslim, the decision to amend the status lies under the purview of the Syariah Court.
“The National Registration Department is not an agency that determines whether an individual has renounced Islam,” said the department in a letter addressed to Astro AWANI.
The statement by the NRD was in reply to Johann Lim Noordin’s complaint which was reported by Astro AWANI on May 19.
Registered under the name Johann Lim Noordin bin Billy Noordin, he claimed he had never embraced Islam and wants the Muslim religion states on his identity card changed. He claimed to have submitted an application to the NRD in 2011.
“If you want me to produce 100 witnesses that will say I am not a Muslim, I will produce them. If you want me to produce 200 witnesses that have seen me go to Buddhist temples and prayed, I will produce them. If you want me to produce 500 witnesses that have seen me eat non-halal food, I will produce them.
“The fact remains, I am not a Muslim, nor was I born a Muslim, converted to be a Muslim. I was never a Muslim to begin with!” he said in a letter addressed to the NRD and shared to the media recently.
In its response, the NRD acknowledged received Johann application in 2011. According to the department’s records, Johann’s mother is a Buddhist of Chinese descent and his father is a Muslim of Indian descent. Johann had been registered as a Muslim of Indian descent.
The NRD said Johann had never questioned the Muslim religion status on his identity card which was issued when he was 18 years old on February 28, 2002. He had only raised the issue when he submitted an application to amend the Muslim religion status to Buddhist on October 11, 2011.
Johann had previously made an enquiry on the matter to the NRD through an email dated September 28, 2011. An NRD officer responding to his email had advised Johann to obtain a confirmation letter from the nearest Islamic Religious Department office.
In his application to the NRD, Johann had submitted a letter from the Penang Islamic Religious Affairs Department (JHEANPP) which said his name was not on the list of Muslim converts in the state and as such the department “could not confirm his religion status”.
“Based on this, the NRD considers Mr Johann Noordin bin Billy Noordin as a Muslim,” it said in a statement to Astro AWANI.
The NRD however has advised Johann to obtain a decision from the Syariah Court regarding his religion status and the department will abide to whatever decision is made by the Syariah Court.”
June 4, 2014