Decision on newborn’s racial identity slammed

PETALING JAYA: Selangor MCA has expressed its sympathy to the Indian community who are unhappy with Subang Jaya assemblyman Hannah Yeoh over the racial identity of her newborn baby girl.

Its Public Complaints Bureau said it regretted Yeoh's action in not putting the ethnicity of Shay Adora Ram as that of her Indian husband.

Bureau adviser Datuk C.K. Lim told a press conference that based on convention, the child's ethnicity should follow that of the father.

“Her husband is an Indian and it is customary to name the child's ethnicity as Indian,” he said, adding the assemblyman's initial stance to define her baby as anak Malaysia (child of Malaysia) was politically motivated.

The issue began when the baby was defined as Chinese after the NRD in Putrajaya declined the couple's initial proposal to use anak Malaysia as an ethnicity or race of their child.

Yeoh had claimed she and her husband opted to leave the column for “race” blank but was rejected by the NRD official who attended to them.

To safeguard their daughter's interest, the couple then registered Shay as Chinese, for the timebeing.

Earlier, scores of Indians from various non-governmental organisations in Petaling Jaya handed over a memorandum to Lim at the MCA complaints bureau here.

The group's spokesman P. Balakrishnan said Yeoh's husband Ramachandran Muniandy had demeaned the Indians by not standing up for his right to decide the race of his child.

He urged the NRD to cancel the baby's birth certificate and issue a fresh one identifying her race as “Indian”.

In Kuala Lumpur, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said the registration of anak Malaysia as a child's ethnicity or race would involve changes to the country's laws and amendments to the Federal Constitution.

“Whatever changes involving this matter will need amendments to the law and considerations on the constitution,” he said.

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