KUCHING, May 16 — Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) public complaint bureau chief Wilfred Yap today urged the state government to urgently conduct a comprehensive study on the issue of Sarawakians who converted to Islam outside the state, but now wish to return to their original religions.
He said the Syariah Civil Procedure (Declaration of Islamic Religious Status) Rules, 2018, does not cover Sarawakians who became Muslims outside the state.
“The Chinese convert in this case is a Sarawakian woman who was converted in Brunei in 1990.
“The current law does not assist her as a Sarawakian convert as based on the current law, she must get a Letter of Release from Brunei,” he told Malay Mail.
“Question is whether the Brunei Syariah law can be applicable to her?” Yap said, and asked if she is able to submit her application for the letter to the Sarawak Syariah Court.
Yap said the woman had converted to Islam to enable the registration of her marriage to a Muslim man from Sabah.
However, he said, the marriage fell apart in 1993 and they divorced without any children.
“She subsequently returned to Kuching and got married to a Chinese man in 1996 and their marriage was duly registered and a marriage certificate issued,” he said, adding that four children were born out of this marriage to the Chinese man who is a Buddhist.
“The problem facing this woman is that the birth certificates of her two youngest children do not have the name of their Chinese father and their religion is stated as Islam and she is desirous to have the birth certificates of her two children rectified to include the name of their biological father and his surname.
“She had on many occasions tried unsuccessfully to obtain a letter of her release from Islam, a document required by the state National Registration Department to amend her religious status in the official records,” she said.
Yap said the woman approached him for advice and assistance to have her conversion to Islam reversed and for her identity card and official record to reflect that she is a Buddhist which was her original religion.