Non-Muslim woman can't marry because IC wrongly states she's Muslim

KOTA KINABALU: A woman is facing difficulty getting married because her religion is mistakenly stated as Islam in her identification card (IC) and is pleading for help from the government.

Nusiah Pulod from Kampung Limbuak Darat Pulau Banggi, Kudat, said she was born a Christian and had always been one.

She said she realised the mistake when she first got her IC on her 12th birthday over 10 years ago.

“When I was 12 and applied for my IC, I realised that the word ‘Islam’ was stated in my IC, ” she said.

“However, I did not understand the implications then. Only now that I am preparing for my marriage do I realise how difficult it is to rectify information on my IC, ” Nusiah said.

She said both her parents were Christians and so were her six siblings.

“I have no idea how the National Registration Department (NRD) recorded me as a Muslim, ” she said.

Nusiah said she had tried to rectify the matter from last year after her engagement, but instead of making things easy for her, the various departments she went to, including the Islamic Religious Department and NRD, had been directing her here and there.

“I have tried dealing with the NRD in Kudat, but was directed to the Jabatan Agama Islam in Kudat. There, I was informed that they did not have my records and hence was unable to issue a religious status verification for me, ” she said.

“They then told me to go to the Sabah Islamic Religious Council office in Kota Kinabalu to obtain verification. There, the officer asked me to write an official letter to check my status which I later produced, ” she said.

Nusiah said she was then redirected to the NRD headquarters in Kota Kinabalu where she was asked to fill in another form for rectification of information.

“Now they said I have to wait three months for the process but my wedding is scheduled for June, ” she said.

She said she hoped the government could help speed up the rectification process.

Nusiah feels that such applications should be straightforward.

She claimed there were many others like herself in her village who faced similar problems.

“What is the meaning of religious freedom in this state if an application for a simple rectification of religious status that should be done immediately is delayed with the imposition of complicated procedures?” Nusiah asked.

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