LEOW FOOK KEONG (L) v. PENDAFTAR BESAR BAGI KELAHIRAN DAN KEMATIAN MALAYSIA, JABATAN PENDAFTARAN NEGARA, MALAYSIA & ANOR

[2022] 2 MLRA 29

LEOW FOOK KEONG (L) v. PENDAFTAR BESAR BAGI KELAHIRAN DAN KEMATIAN MALAYSIA, JABATAN PENDAFTARAN NEGARA, MALAYSIA & ANOR
Federal Court, Putrajaya
Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat CJ, Mohd Zawawi Salleh, Mary Lim Thiam Suan FCJJ
[Civil Appeal No: 01(f)-1-01-2019(W)]
18 November 2021

JUDGMENT

Mary Lim Thiam Suan FCJ:

[1] This case brings to the fore, once again, the role and duty of the Registrar- General of Births and Deaths [the Registrar-General], the 1st respondent in this appeal, and the status of records of new lives and the passing of such lives in the register and indices maintained by the Registrar-General. As we see it, the register is a public record, accessible on terms, while the Registrar-General's role is necessarily facilitative, objectively exercised. This case and its peculiar facts illustrate that understanding. Had that role and duty been properly appreciated from the outset, a substantial amount of misconception and angst would have been avoided.

[2] The single question before this Court is:

Whether The National Registration Department Is Under A Statutory Duty To Record The Particulars Of The Natural Father Of An Illegitimate Child And/Or To Correct/Amend/Update Such Records, When Evidence And Undisputed Facts Are Available?

[3] We were unanimous in answering this poser in the affirmative and our reasons are as follows.

Relevant Background Facts

[4] On 25 August 2016, the appellant successfully procured an order of Court vide Originating Summons No: 24F-172-10/2015 [OS] declaring him as the biological father of a child born on 16 July 2015 at Sunway Medical Centre, Selangor Darul Ehsan [the Child]. That declaratory order was granted after the High Court in the OS had earlier ordered on 25 February 2016 that a Deoxyribonucleic acid test or more commonly known as a 'DNA test' be conducted on the 2nd respondent and the Child. The relevant persons, namely the appellant, the 2nd respondent and the Child, provided the necessary blood samples for that test. The report dated 13 April 2016 prepared by the Chemistry Department which carried out the DNA test revealed that the appellant is the biological father of the Child. Together with the declaratory order, the appellant obtained regular access to the Child which he continues to have to this date. There were no appeals against these orders.

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