Minister to help bride change her status

Minister to help bride change her status
Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

KUALA LUMPUR - Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi will refer the request by a 32-year-old woman, whose Hindu wedding was disrupted by religious officers last week, to the relevant authorities for a change in religion.

Dr Ahmad Zahid said he sympathised with the plight of Zarena Abdul Majeed and would refer her request to the Syariah Judiciary Department (JKSM) and the Attorney-General's Chambers.

"Whether her request is approved or not, the National Registration Department (NRD) will then act accordingly. Being a Government that understands religious sensitivities, we will follow the decision made by JKSM and the A-G's Chambers," he told reporters in Cheras here yesterday.

Zarena, whose temple wedding to a Hindu man was disrupted by Selangor Islamic Affairs Department (Jais) officials last Sunday, claimed that she had applied to NRD to change her religion in her MyKad but was rejected as she did not have supporting documents from her father.

She had said that her father was a Muslim convert who deserted the family when they were children and that she was raised a Hindu by her mother.

However, the NRD had since denied receiving any application from her while her father, Abdul Majeed Gulam Kader, had contradicted her version, saying that Zarena was born to Muslim parents after her mother converted to marry him in 1979.

He also claimed that he was thrown out of the house in 2000.

Jais said it had launched an internal investigation against the officers involved and promised to take disciplinary action against them if they had breached procedures.

Meanwhile, in Petaling Jaya, Zarena's paternal aunt had denied reporting her to Jais after a copy of the supposed complaint bearing her name was posted in the blogs.

"I did not make the report and do not know who made it using my name and identity card number," said Shairah Begam Abdul Kader, adding that the phone number recorded on the complaint was not hers.

"I have been trying to call the number but the phone was switched off. I don't want to be involved and want to be left alone," said a teary Shairah, who is the half sister of Abdul Majeed.

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