11 August 2009
Press statement by Wanita MCA Chairman Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun affirming that Teoh Beng Hock’s child should carry his surname, given the circumstances that he has passed away
It is unfortunate that despite the very puzzling manner in which the late Sdr Teoh Beng Hock died, there have been certain quarters who criticized Wanita MCA’s appeal that his unborn be registered in Sdr Teoh’s surname upon the child’s birth. These criticisms were published in a certain mainstream press which showed ill-will and complete insensitivity against the grieving family.
According to the Section 13 of the Registration of Birth and Death Act 1957 (Act 299), an illegitimate child can be registered in the father’s name at the joint request of the mother and the person acknowledging himself to be the father of the child, and the father shall in the case, sign the register with the mother.
However, in this circumstance, it is so obvious that Sdr Teoh is no longer here with us, thus disabling his physical presence at the counter to register his name as the father in the child’s birth certificate. The public is fully aware that Sdr Teoh was in the midst of organizing his wedding before the tragedy befell him. He was scheduled to register his marriage to his fiancé Sdri Soh Cher Wei on 17 July 09, a day after he was found sprawled on the floor. In keeping with Chinese tradition, the red curtains signifying a wedding were already draped at the entrance of his home, but had to be removed when the tragedy struck. Hence, on humanitarian grounds, the rights of the unborn child to identity must be upheld.
Wanita MCA does not encourage consummation when couples have not yet registered their betrothal. However, the rights of an innocent child must never be deprived, but protected instead.
In the near future, Wanita MCA will submit three (3) memorandums to the Home Minister as part of our citizenship registration projects which hopes to remedy citizenship rights of Malaysians in the following areas:
1) Children born to at least one parent
2) Foreign spouses of Malaysian citizens
3) Stateless Malaysians whose births
Wanita MCA will also propose to the Home Ministry to amend the law in order to address special cases which comply with certain conditions.
Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun
Wanita MCA National Chairman