KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 4 — A Hindu father has filed a complaint with the Education Department that his "Hindu" daughter is being forced to take Islamic Studies in school even though the child's mother is born a Hindu and is seeking an appeal to renounce Islam.
Online portal Malaysiakini reported that the father identified as 50-year-old Grab driver P. Manivanan had requested the Education Ministry's intervention to resolve the dispute faced by his nine year old child M. Luganeshvari.
Apparently, the man's wife was born a Hindu but her parents had converted into Islam together with her when she was three years old and given the name Siti Fatimah Paramaswari.
However, when Paramaswari was 18, she married Manivanan and had applied to the Shah Alam Syariah Court to have her Muslim status annulled.
He and his wife were married according to Hindu rites and they also hold a valid marriage certificate issued by a commissioner of oaths.
"The issue now is that the National Registration Department (NRD) has declared my daughter as a Muslim,” Manivanan reportedly said.
“When she was born, we told the NRD officer on duty that my wife has applied to revert to being a Hindu, and the said officer registered the child (then) as a Hindu. However, when the birth certificate came out, my daughter's religion was stated as Islam.
"Worse still, my name was not included in the certificate at all. In the column where the father's name is supposed to be, it is stated 'information not obtained'."
Manivanan complained that Tamil schools refused to accept Luganeshvari due to the dispute over her birth certificate and he was forced to register his daughter into a national school where she was forced to take Islamic studies.
He explained that Lugeshnvari had never practiced Islam and his wife had already renounced the religion but they hold Islam and Muslims with respect.
The NRD in Putrajaya on the other hand said his daughter was registered as a Muslim due to Paramaswari's religion.
"What right does NRD have to decide on my behalf? And why was my name excluded? I challenge the NRD to explain the exclusion of my name, when I have a valid marriage certificate. They should have waited until my wife's case is resolved, and not make hasty decisions," he told Malaysia Kini.
Manivanan had lodged a police report against the NRD for allegedly falsifying the details in Luganeshvari's birth certificate.
The online portal also reported that Education Minister Maszlee Malik is looking into the matter but NRD had not commented on the issue.