I have recently found out that in order to register a new born child with our National Registration Department (JPN), a number of documents need to be submitted, including a marriage certificate. I was told, on authority, that without a marriage cert, it may not be possible for the father to have his name listed as the father of the child. I was also told that this policy is something recent and things were not like this in the past.
Mater semper certa; pater est quem nuptiae demonstrant.
Mother is always certain; the father is whom the marriage shows
To me, that just does not quite make sense. It may have been true in the past, when proof of biological parentage was difficult to obtain. However, DNA tests have changed all that. It is fairly simple to prove that someone is a biological father of a child. Therefore, it does not make sense to me, that such a policy is now in place when it was not in the past.
So, the fact that a man is the biological father of a child is less important than he being married to the mother of the child. It does not matter if the child is carrying your genes or otherwise, as long as you are legally bound to the mother. If any sort of statistics are to be trusted, many men are not biological fathers of their own children anyway.
If our government denies the biological father the right to list himself down as the legal father of the child on the birth cert, is our government denying him some form of fundamental right? I’m too naive on issues of human rights and such. Therefore, I don’t really know so much about these things. But somehow, I just think that something does not smell quite right.
I can imagine one very sad scenario, where a new born child of a single mother who died at childbirth is considered an orphan because the father was not married to the mother. It doesn’t matter if the father was present and loves him very much. But because the father failed to get himself legally married, the child is now considered an orphan. This just sounds a bit screwy to me.
Anyway, I was just ranting off. I have a feeling that this is a bubble waiting to burst. As far as I understand it, there are many people who are not ‘legally’ married in Malaysia. Of course, everyone should get their marriages registered. However, this does not stop them from happily procreating. There may be some problems, particularly if the mother was a foreigner, with citizenship issues.
And if this is not something that is written in Law, and turns out to be the workings of some little Napolean in the government, then it is even worse. If JPN wants to insist on some sort of proof of being the father, I suggest that they insist on giving everyone a DNA check. Unfortunately, that opens up a whole other can of worms.