In any event, the court found a convenient reason for dismissing this case, and time will likely tell if they respond differently to a petition filed under her Islamic name. If they rejected her case because “Lim Yoke Khoon,” her given name, no longer “exists,” will they reject her case as “Noorashikin Lim Abdullah” because Noorashikin Lim Abdullah has only existed on the record as a Muslim?
“Court rejects convert’s renunciation of Islam appeal,” from the New Straits Times, August 6:
PUTRAJAYA: An appeal by a Muslim convert to practise the religion of her choice as she had used her original Chinese name in her suit was dismissed by the Court of Appeal yesterday.
In a majority ruling, the court said the convert’s Chinese name no longer existed following her conversion to Islam.
Judge Tengku Baharudin Shah Tengku Mahmud and Datuk Sulong Matjeraie were in the majority while Datuk Vincent Ng Kim Khoay dissented.
Tengku Baharudin said the appellant was not a legal entity as her previous name no longer existed after she had obtained a new identity card.
Following the ruling, two other similar appeals were also dismissed on the same grounds.
At the outset of the appeal, Tengku Baharudin asked parties whether the appeal was competent because the convert’s original Chinese name was used.
Lim Yoke Khoon took the name of Noorashikin Lim Abdullah when she converted to Islam.
Lawyer Edmond Bon, who was appearing for Lim, said there was no confusion as to the identity of the person, whether she carried her Chinese name or Muslim name.
“She is a living, legal and natural person seeking legal rights to enforce her rights to convert out of Islam,” he said. […]
In her originating summons, Lim, now 35, said she had to convert when she married a Muslim in 1994. She obtained a new identity card which carried her Muslim name.
She said she did not have a happy marriage, and three years later, when they were divorced, she wanted to become a Christian and marry a non-Muslim.
In June 2003, she made a statutory declaration and a deed poll declaring that she had renounced Islam and converted to Christianity and taken her original Chinese name.
She applied to the NRD to change her name and religion in the identity card.
However, the NRD rejected her application and asked for a certificate from a syariah court or the Selangor Religious Council as proof that she had renounced Islam….