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COMMENT | Addressing M'sia's 'premarital' children issue

COMMENT | The cases of so-called “illegitimate” (out of wedlock) births have been growing exponentially in Malaysia, relatively speaking, with 70,430 cases of “illegitimate” births between 1999 and 2003 to over 257,000 between 2000 and July 2008 (around 2,500 born per month and 83 born per day).

Of these, most cases were from the Malay-Muslim community, followed by the Indian and the Chinese (‘Does Illegitimacy Status of Children Matter? A Review on Malaysian Perspectives’, Meerah Gopal, International Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol 5, Issue 4, 2015).

The Child Rights Coalition Malaysia reported in 2013 that over 234,000 children whose birth certificates don’t mention a father’s name – of which around 85,000 are Muslims.

A child’s legitimacy is of supreme importance among Muslims, including in Malaysia. “Illegitimate” children don’t have the legal right to lineage or the right to inherit their father’s wealth.

Socially, “illegitimate” children are subject to...

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