MALAYSIA APEC/ASEAN LEAD CONSUMERIST DATUK DR JACOB GEORGE ASKS IS IT NOT TIME TO INITIATE A UNIFORM PARENTAGE ACT?

To classify all births under one, to me is the work a bunch of pencil pushing ‘super idiots’ who have no place working in a policy institution or in public policy decisions!’

MALAYSIA APEC/ASEAN LEAD CONSUMERIST ASKS IS IT NOT TIME TO INITIATE A UNIFORM PARENTAGE ACT?

Gosh, there must be an abundance of “angels and heavenly beings” masquerading as public officials, politicians, pencil pushing bureaucrats, religious and NGO leaders in Malaysia!

This is 2017 – and globally, most states have moved away from using the words “legitimate” and “illegitimate” in differentiating between children whose parents are married or not married.

Whether it is the US, Europe, West Asia, Asia Pacific, the African and South Asian continent change is taking place!

Some states have adopted the Uniform Parentage Act, which says that “the parent and child relationship extends equally to every child and to every parent, regardless of the marital status of the parents.”

That is accountability!

Other states have modified versions of the Act in place, but either way, many states have now abandoned outdated notions of legitimacy.

But I do not deny that even in the states that have adopted this Act, however, it’s still crucial to know who a child’s parents are.

There is nothing wrong in this more so in jurisdiction where women’s rights and equality issues are being trampled upon directly, indirectly, through religious edicts, where they end up nothing more than sex tools and victims of sexual predators masquerading as men and where women are criminalized in the end, not the men!

It is important therefore when it comes to inheritance, child support, custody, adoption, and many other areas of family law, the rights and duties of parents are clearly stated.

And if a man thinks that his refusal to sign a paternity statement will get him off the hook for paying child support and to be accountable both in the sight of the mother, members of the community/public, God and the child – he is wrong!

If a father does not voluntarily sign a paternity statement, many states will go to court to establish that he is the father and collect child support.

But there are also jurisdictions that do not because of far too much power in the hands of men who make policy decisions for women!

As such, I am quite flabbergasted that in Malaysia, supposedly a moderate and progressive country, so we proudly boast – the National Registration Department (JPN) has recorded over 540,000 cases of illegitimate births from 2006 to June 2017 according to my dear friend, Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

We are told that from 2006 to June 30, 2017, there have been 542,363 registrations of illegitimate births (anak tak sah taraf)!
Sad and shocking!

Inexplicably, we are also told that not all of these children were conceived out of wedlock, but, if so, why did they end up as statistics of illegitimate?

To this we are told, that all those born under the following circumstances are affected!

1. Unmarried parents.
2. A married couple who failed to register the birth of their child.
3. A married Muslim couple who gave birth within six months from the date of their marriage.
4. A married couple that resides overseas but failed to register the birth with JPN for non-Muslims, and the state religious authority for Muslims.
5. Stranded children whose parents are not identified.

To classify all births under one, to me is the work a bunch of pencil pushing ‘super idiots’ who have no place working in a policy institution or in public policy decisions!

Policy institutions should have intelligentsia, individuals who think, are far sighted, proactive, address issues out of the box, say no to silos thinking, let alone give sway to religious bias and prejudice!

Will these things change?

I will share these issues with both Malaysian Premier, Najib Tun Razak and Malaysia’s first lady, Kak Rosmah Mansur as both are fully committed and sensitive to safeguarding child rights in Malaysia!