Azlina failed, hurrah for the Constitution!

The case on Lina Joy is almost exhaustive. They went up to the highest court and failed to omit the word “Islam” from her MyKad. Lina Joy, born into a Muslim family as Azlina Jailani, embraced Christianity since 1998, failed to get the ruling of National Registration Department (NRD) to officially recognise that she is no longer a Muslim since 1999, ruled then by Justice Dato’ Faiza Thamby Chik.

Court of Appeal Justices Dato’ Ariffin Jaka and Dato’ Abdul Aziz Mohamed and gave a 2-1 judgment to hold the High Court ruling against Justice Gopal Sri Ram ruling on the matter. Today, Chief Justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Halim and Federal Court Justice Dato’ Allauddin Mohd. Sherrif rejected the appeal while Chief Judge of Borneo Dato’ Richard Malanjum gave a dissenting judgment pertaining to powers of NRD.

Bernama online,, has the story:


Her second application to the NRD to change her name in Nov 1999, however, was approved but the new identity card issued listed her as a Muslim.

On Feb 2, 1997, she applied to the NRD to change her name to Lina Joy on the grounds that she had converted to Christianity but it was rejected on Aug 11, 1997.

May 30, 2007 13:58 PM E-mail this news to a friend Printable version of this news

Federal Court Dismisses Lina Joy’s Appeal To Drop Islam In IC


PUTRAJAYA, May 30 (Bernama) — Azlina Jailani, the woman who converted to Christianity, today failed in her appeal to get the Federal Court to compel the National Registration Department (NRD) to drop the word “Islam” from her identity card.

In a 2-1 majority decision, the court ruled that Azlina, 42, who changed her name to Lina Joy, should obtain a Syariah Court order confirming her apostasy before the department could delete the word.

Chief Justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim said the NRD had the right to require Lina Joy to produce an order from the Syariah Court to confirm that she had renounced the Islamic religion if she wanted to delete the word “Islam” in her identity card.

Justice Ahmad Fairuz and Federal Court Judge Datuk Alauddin Mohd Sheriff rejected the appeal while the Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Datuk Richard Malanjum gave a dissenting judgment.

Lina had appealed to the Federal Court after the Court ot Appeal in a 2-1 majority decision on Sept 19, 2005, prevented her from deleting the word “Islam” from her identity card on the grounds that her renounciation of Islam had not been validated by the Syariah Court or any other lawful Islamic authorities.

She made the appeal to the Appeals Court after the High Court in April 2001 ruled that as a Muslim she could not renounce Islam and that the matter of renounciation must be decided by the Syariah Court.

Lina named the Federal Territory Islamic Affairs Council, the government of Malaysia and NRD director-general Datuk Wan Ibrahim Wan Ahmad as the respondents in her appeal.


This is BBC’s,,  take on the same issue:


Malaysia rejects Christian appeal

Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Ms Joy was disowned by her family and forced to quit her job

Malaysia’s highest court has rejected a Muslim convert’s six-year battle to be legally recognised as a Christian. A three-judge panel ruled that only the country’s Sharia Court could let Azlina Jailani, now known as Lina Joy, remove the word Islam from her identity card.

Malaysia’s constitution guarantees freedom of worship but says all ethnic Malays are Muslim. Under Sharia law, Muslims are not allowed to convert.

Ms Joy said she should not be bound by that law as she is no longer a Muslim.

Death threats

Malaysia’s Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim said the panel endorsed legal precedents giving Islamic Sharia courts jurisdiction over cases involving Muslims who want to convert.

About 200 protesters shouted “Allah-o-Akbar” (God is great) outside the court when the ruling was announced.

“You can’t at whim and fancy convert from one religion to another,” Ahmad Fairuz said.

Ms Joy’s case has tested the limits of religious freedom in Malaysia.

She started attending church in 1990 and was baptised in 1998.

In 2000, Ms Joy, 42, went to the High Court after the National Registration Department refused to remove “Islam” from the religion column on her identity card. The court said it was a matter for Sharia courts. Tuesday’s ruling marked the end of her final appeal.

Ms Joy has been disowned by her family and forced to quit her job. She went into hiding last year. A Muslim lawyer who supported her case received death threats.

Sharia courts decide on civil cases involving Malaysian Muslims – nearly 60% of the country’s 26 million people – while ethnic minorities such as Chinese and Indians are governed by civil courts in the multi-racial country.




These are The Star’s,, take on the same story and their previous stories related to the same issue:

Crucial decision in Lina Joy case

KUALA LUMPUR: The Federal Court judgment today on the Lina Joy appeal will be a historic one with legal and social repercussions, whichever way the decision goes.

This decision by the apex court will affect one’s constitutional freedom to choose one’s religion as well as who one can marry, especially for those who want to renounce Islam and for people who convert to Islam but later want to revert to their former religion.

The judgment, which was reserved on July 4 last year, will clarify whether conversion is a religious matter or a constitutional matter.

Lina Joy, 42, who was born to a Malay Muslim couple, became a Christian when she was 26.

The sales assistant has taken her case all the way to the Federal Court because unless the government recognises her conversion, she cannot get married under civil law.

While Lina managed – the second time around – to get the National Registration Department to change her name from Azlina Jailani in 1999, accepting that she had renounced Islam, it refused to remove the word “Islam” from her MyKad.

The NRD said it could not do so without a syariah court order certifying she had renounced Islam.

As long as the word “Islam” remains on her identity card, Lina cannot marry her Christian boyfriend, a cook, under the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976.

In 2001, she took her case against the NRD director-general, the Government and the Federal Territory Religious Council to the High Court.

She lost – Justice Faiza Tamby Chik held that Malays could not renounce Islam because a Malay was defined in the Constitution as “a person who professes the religion of Islam,” adding it was the syariah court that had the jurisdiction in matters related to apostasy.

Lina appealed to the Court of Appeal and lost again, this time in a majority decision – Justices Abdul Aziz Mohamed and Arifin Zakaria upheld the decision of the NRD but Justice Gopal Sri Ram said it was null and void.

In 2006, she got leave to appeal to the Federal Court and asked the panel comprising Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim, Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Richard Malanjum and Federal Court Justice Alauddin Mohd Sheriff these questions:

  • WAS the NRD entitled to require a person to produce a certificate or a declaration or an order from the syariah court before deleting “Islam” from his or her identity card;
  • DID the NRD correctly construe its powers under the National Registration Regulations 1990 when it imposed the above requirement, which is not expressly provided for in the regulations?; and
  • WAS the landmark case Soon Singh vs Perkim Kedah – which held that syariah courts have the authority over the civil courts to hear cases of Muslims renouncing Islam – correctly decided? While Datuk Cyrus Das appeared for Lina Joy, Senior Federal Counsel Datuk Umi Khaltum Jamid appeared for the NRD director-general and the Government and Sulaiman Abdullah appeared for the religious council.
  •  Wednesday July 5, 2006Counsel: Islam can’t be renounced at will
  • Wednesday July 5, 2006Counsel: Islam can’t be renounced at willPutrajaya: Senior Federal Counsel Datuk Umi Kalthum Abd Majid, who appeared for the Government and the NRD director-general, said this was because Lina is still a Muslim, unlike a non-Muslim who is only subjected to the civil courts.

    “The issue of renunciation is a matter pertaining to the akidah (faith) of a Muslim transgressed into the realism of the Syariah Law, which needs serious consideration and proper interpretation of such laws,” she said.

    “As such, only the Syariah Court and/or bodies are qualified to make such a determination.”

    Umi added that a proper determination of the status of the purported renunciation of Islam by Lina, being a Muslim, is important as the determination will take her out of the application of the Syariah Laws and out of the jurisdiction of the Syariah Courts.

    She said there was no relevance to make references to Article 11(1) of the Federal Constitution, as Lina was not prohibited from renouncing her religion.

    “The issue here is that, in order to renounce Islam, she must go to the proper channels as provided by law and she cannot renounce her religion, Islam, at will,” she said.

    The Lina Joy case: Right not infringed on

  • PUTRAJAYA: Compelling a Muslim to get an apostasy order from the Syariah Court to renounce his or her religion does not infringe on a person’s Constitutional right to profess another religion, the Federal Court heard.Sulaiman Abdullah said the Federal Territories Administration of Islamic Law Act 1994, which conferred on the religious council the power to govern Muslims, was consistent with the Constitution.
  • “The Act was created to smoothen the administration of Islam among Muslims so that the harmony and well-being of the community are protected,” he said yesterday.“The provisions strike the correct balance between individual rights and the interest of public order,” added Sulaiman.Lina Joy is appealing against the Court of Appeal’s majority decision on Sept 19, last year, which ruled that the National Registration Department director-general was right in not allowing her application to delete the word “Islam” from her identity card.The ruling was on the grounds that the Syariah Court and other Islamic religious authorities did not confirm her renunciation of Islam.In his submission, Sulaiman said the constitutional issue must be viewed historically.

    “We have to take into account that Islam was here from the 13th century. The Malay Sultanate became Muslim and, later, its people,” he said, adding that the system was interrupted with the intrusion of colonial powers.

    “The law that was applied then was Islamic law and several centuries later, Malaysia became a fully Islamic country.”

    He said everything about the Malays then was governed by Islam and Malay customs. On the other hand, British law was limited and based on Christianity.

    “Unfortunately, the British were the stronger party and had their way on what should be Malay customs and Muslim law,” he said, questioning the need to conform to the British legal system after the country’s independence.

    Sulaiman said the Malaysian Constitution was unique in that it had a special place for Islam.

    He added, however, that Muslims could not declare their renunciation of Islam without the involvement of religious authorities because there would be Constitutional repercussions.

    “For instance, one may declare himself a Muslim in the morning and by the evening he is not a Muslim. Or, he is a Muslim when it’s time for zakat and not a Muslim during the fasting month,” he said.

    This prompted Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim to ask: “Are you saying that a Buddhist can be a Buddhist in the morning and a Christian in the evening?”

    Sulaiman answered there was nothing to stop anyone from doing so.

    He said several legal representatives of non-governmental organisations had, in their submissions last week, made attacks on the position of Islam.

    “That is a total reversal of what the Government had set out to achieve,” he said.

    The NGOs had supported the view of Justice Gopal Sri Ram, who gave his dissenting judgment in the Court of Appeal, that the NRD’s refusal to make the amendment in Lina’s identity card without an order or certificate from the Syariah Court was null and void.

    On April 23, 2001, the High Court refused to decide on Lina’s application to renounce Islam on the ground that the Syariah Court should decide the issue.

    The appeal continues today.

    NRD has right to require apostasy order, says counsel

  • PUTRAJAYA: The National Registration Department (NRD) has an implied power to require Lina Joy to submit to it an apostasy order from the Syariah Court.

    This is provided for under the National Registration Regulations, said Senior Federal Counsel Datuk Umi Kalthum Abdul Majid, adding that the implied power was necessary and appropriate for the NRD to carry out its purpose.

    She said the National Registration (Amendment) Regulations 2000, which were brought into force retrospectively on Oct 1, 1999, included a provision to compel a Muslim to state his religion.

    She said although the regulations were gazetted in March 2000, the NRD was allowed to place the word “Islam” on identity cards from Oct 1, 1999.

    Umi Kalthum said the regulations were procedural and, therefore, could be applied retrospectively to identity cards from Oct 1, 1999. This included Lina’s application to change her name in her identity card.

    “The rights of the individual, the appellant (Lina) in this case, would not be affected,” she said.

    She said the contention of Lina’s counsel Datuk Cyrus Das – that the NRD had tricked Lina into making a statutory declaration without revealing her change of religion in order to get her name changed from Azlina Jailani to Lina Joy – was unjustified.

    “Malaysians are very helpful people and the appellant (Lina) was very anxious to make the change. That was not a proper thing to say,” Umi Kalthum said, adding that Das’ insinuation that NRD conspired to thwart Lina’s efforts could not be sustained.

    Justice Richard Malanjum then interjected, “Readers’ Digest would not agree with you,” in an apparent reference to a survey in Kuala Lumpur by the publication which revealed that Malaysians were a rude lot.

    Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim allowed Federal Territory Religious Council counsel Sulaiman Abdullah to adjourn his submissions to Monday after the lawyer told the court that he was ill.

    Sulaiman was not present on the first day of the appeal at the Federal Court on Wednesday as he was attending a conference.

    At the end of yesterday’s proceedings, Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz told assistant counsel Halimahtun Saadiah Abdul Rahman that if Sulaiman was still unwell she would have to make the submissions instead.




     So It is the damnest luck for those who lost. Now that the Federal Constitution has been interpreted by the most learned men in the nation, lets ALL respect that.

    The Malay Rulers as the Protectors of the Islamic faith will never grant a royal assent to allow Lina Joy’s request to follow through and overturn the Federal Court ruling today. Again, the interests of the majority have been protected against the interests of a deviant.


    Published in: on May 30, 2007 at 16:21  Comments (11)  

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    11 CommentsLeave a comment

    1. thats humbug. thats nothing more deviant than one is denied the chance to be with god of his/her choice.

    2. Is there such a thing as ‘Religious-Asylum’ in other countries? I would suggest the-former-known-as-Lina-Joy seeks one, which would probably her plan B. As for categorising as a deviant, aren’t we all ‘deviants’ in out own ways?

      I dunno and I don’t bloody give a toss what happens in other people’s country. In this country, the law says when a Muslim wants to denounce his/her faith, he/she got to get a Syariah Court ruling, FIRST. The Chief Justice had made a ruling that a Muslim shall not allowed to denounce his/her faith conveniently as he/she pleases. The law now has been interpreted in that manner.

    3. Wow. There are people who actually rejoice at someone else not granted the freedom to choose her god.

      Some people tried to be funny with law and they went all the way! The rejoice is about the Constitution of the Federation of Malaysia has been interpreted. The rejoice is about the PRECEDENCE that any future cases would be from now on. Majority rules!

      Who’d gives a toss about one miserable religious deviant? Not amongst the majority.

    4. A sad day for Lina Joy.
      May God be kind upon her through all this ordeal. Let this be a test of her strength and will.

    5. aku rasa kalau wujud buddism court, christianity court, ataupun hinduism court procedure yg sama kena diikuti jugalah … a law is a law … tapi kat Malaysia nih agama Rasmi hanya Islam … itu law … jadi kene ikutlah … tak boleh la suka2 bypass …

    6. I hope this Lina Joy ( not so joy any more lately) will not break up the unity of our multi cultural nation ….hope our nonmuslims friends will try hard to understand the muslim law and believes…… we are malaysian in our own ways..and hopefully nobody tries to take that away from us..not even Lina .. ( go home please )

    7. […] Read More: Biggum Dogmannsteinberg […]

    8. Lina joy should migrate to America I guess, since some America organization is more liberal to offer her & finance her court case (in Malaysia oil rich country). Should they also sponsor the lawyer to defend the innocent people in Iraq who are killed by their soldiers? But we know there is intention to create friction and tension is this peaceful country.

    9. […] untuk menyelitkan agenda mereka mendapat kelebihan strategik. Tidak sebagaimana yang lepas, apabila Ketua Hakim Negara bertindak tegas, bertindak menurut lunas lunas Perlembagaan dan menentukan kepentingan kumpulan majoriti dipertahankan […]

    10. […] untuk menyelitkan agenda mereka mendapat kelebihan strategik. Tidak sebagaimana yang lepas, apabila Ketua Hakim Negara bertindak tegas, bertindak menurut lunas lunas Perlembagaan dan menentukan kepentingan kumpulan majoriti dipertahankan […]

    11. […] when a Muslim volunteer for apostasy, as what then Chief Justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Ahmad said in his position presiding on the LIna Joy case six years […]

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