Registering Births

Seems like once in a while, our BN politicians do lay some gems. The Nut Graph printed a letter written by a former BN MP and present Wanita MCA head. In it, it suggested that certain parts of our law should be changed where it comes to birth registrations. I had previously written on this rather tetchy subject. It is silly to ask for the father to be physically present and to require a valid marriage certificate before registering a child’s father.

First and foremost, such practices and laws were designed during times when it was impossible to determine the father of a child. Hence the saying – “Mater semper certa; pater est quem nuptiae demonstrant.” (Mother is always certain; the father is whom the marriage shows). In the world today, fathers are just as easy to ascertain as mothers. In fact, all it costs in Malaysia now is RM1,800 to have a paternity test done. With time, the costs will only come down. In the near future, the prices would be so low that it could easily be done as and when proof of paternity was needed.

This issue has come to light again with the death of Teoh Beng Hock. He experienced ‘sudden death’ (due to whatever reason that is still being investigated), just one day before he was set to register his marriage with his fiance. Unfortunately, or fortunately (in light of present circumstances), she is currently in her first trimester. She fully plans to have the child in due course. Anyone suggesting that she should abort the child is just dumb. However, by our laws and regulations, this child will now be deemed a bastard.

when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth

Being called a bastard is one thing but being legally labeled as one is quite another. I don’t think that any child would want to be one forever. In fact, even with his death, proof of paternity can be easily ascertained as well since he has living parents and siblings. If scientific proof of paternity is required, the family could easily provide DNA that can be used to determine that the grandparents are whom they say they are, and the brother is not the father.

Let’s just do away with this silly notion that marriage is a pre-requisite of conception. That is just a brain-dead silly idea. The two things are entirely mutually exclusive. Marriage is an institution that is either man-made (if you belief it to be a legal institution) or bestowed by the heavens (if you belief it to be some sort of religious institution). Conception, is all about biology – high school biology in fact. When sperm meets, egg, things magically happen. Nowhere in biology did I study that marriage is a pre-requisite for conception.

But I fully expect the silliness to continue. TBH’s death, albeit tragic, is unlikely to change much.

Published by

Shawn Tan

Chip Doctor, Chartered Engineer, Entrepreneur, Law Graduate.

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