Article contributed by Najwa Hamid, Officer, Bar Council Syariah Law Committee, and photos by Muhammad Bazli Naim b Abdul Azid, Administrative Assistant, Bar Council Secretariat
Following the success of Forum Kedudukan Anak Tidak Sah Taraf dari Perspektif Undang–Undang Islam dan Undang–Undang Sivil, which was held in Terengganu on 29 Oct 2017, the Bar Council Syariah Law Committee (“SLC”) decided to organise the same forum in Kuala Lumpur on 28 July 2018 at the Bar Council Raja Aziz Addruse Auditorium.
The forum addressed the following topics:
(1) Definition of “anak tidak sah taraf” from Syariah and civil law perspectives;(2) Relevant provisions in the Law Reform (Marriage & Divorce) Act 1976; and(3) Relevant provisions in the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) (Amendment) Act 2017.
The forum began with opening remarks by the Co–Deputy Chairperson of SLC, Nazliyah Mansor, who then introduced the moderator for the forum, SLC member Hj Zainal Abidin b Shaik Zakaria.
The two panellists for the forum were Yang Arif Prof Adjunct Dato’ Dr Hj Mohd Na’im b Hj Mokhtar, Syariah Court of Appeal Judge; and Goh Siu Lin, Co–Chairperson of the Bar Council Family Law Committee.
The Judge stated that the legitimacy of a child’s status is an essential element in ensuring the rights of a child are taken care of in terms of maintenance, inheritance and property, custody, and marriage. He added that in the Muslim community, a child is considered a “legitimate” child if the child was born as a result of a valid marriage.
He explained that the Muzakarah Jawatankuasa Fatwa Majlis Kebangsaan Bagi Hal Ehwal Ugama Islam Malaysia Kali Ke–57, which met on 10 June 2003, had decided that an “illegitimate” child cannot use the name of the father or the person who claims to be the father, as the child’s surname.
Goh Siu Lin presented information on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (“UNCRC”), which sets out the civil, political, economic, social, health, and cultural rights of children. UNCRC promotes children’s well–being and best interests while recognising that their vulnerability and maturity levels require special consideration. She further explained the four core principles of UNCRC: non–discrimination; devotion to the best interests of the child; the right to life, survival and development; and respect for the views of the child.
The three–hour forum — which carried two CPD points — was well–attended, with 75 participants comprising Members of the Bar, pupils in chambers, students, and members of the public.