Birth-Swap Malaysian Files Suit over Faith

June 3, 2007

Source: Gulf Times

KUALA LUMPUR: A Malaysian man mistakenly given to Muslim parents at birth has filed a claim to be legally recognised as a Buddhist, the New Straits Times reported yeserday, amid an ongoing row over religious recognition.

Zulhadi Omar, 29, was registered as a Malay Muslim at birth. But in an incredible chance meeting, an ethnic Chinese couple approached him in a shopping centre in February after noticing his similarity to his real father. Zulhadi said his lawyer had filed the suit on Friday after Malaysian authorities failed to respond to a written request for his name and religion to be changed on his birth certificate and identity card.

DNA tests have confirmed Zulhadi is the biological son of Teyo Ma Liong and Lim Sik Hai and not his registered Malay Muslim parents.

“On the day that I was born, a woman named Lim Sik Hai also gave birth to a baby boy at the same hospital,” The Star newspaper quoted Zulhadi as saying. “I was registered a Muslim based on an error at birth. I should have been named Eddie Teyo, son of Teyo Ma Liong and Lim Sik Hai, and a Buddhist.”