Kuala Lumpur: Nearly 7,000 in Malaysia have been wrongly documented as Muslims on their national identity cards, according to a group of NGOs in the Muslim-majority nation.
The problem was widespread throughout Peninsular Malaysia and involved mostly practising Hindus from the lower income group who are documented as Muslims, Malaysia Hindu Sangam president Mohan Shan was quoted as saying by The Malaysian Insider.
The task force of eight Hindu NGOs said they are assisting 500 Hindus, while some 7,000 others throughout the country were affected by the “system failure” in which anybody wishing to change their official religious status from Islam must first receive permission from the Shariah Court.
The Muslim Lawyer’s Association of Malaysia (PPMM) said they would assist any registered Muslim who wish to change their official religious status. Islam is the largest and state religion of Malaysia accounting for 61.3 per cent of the total population. Hindus account for about 6.3 per cent.
“This 7,000 people never were and do not have any intentions of converting,” said Selangor Hindu Youth Organisation (HYO) adviser Arun Dorasamy. Dorasamy, who also heads the Hindu Conversion Action Team, said he had met Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nancy Shukri regarding the matter.
“We were told that we would meet the Prime Minister in a week or two weeks,” said Dorasamy. The Hindu NGOs also provided some solutions, suggesting the Prime Minister s Department to set up a temporary task force.
They had also suggested setting up a temporary online registry, so that the authorities would be able to estimate the number of cases involve in the matter. The purpose of the meeting with the Prime Minister is also to amend an article of the constitution which states the religion of a person under the age of 18 years shall be decided by his/her parent or guardian.