Let’s talk about fake birth certificates. Some time back, we were introduced to a middle-aged couple. Their child had just turned 12, so they brought him to JPN to make a new MyKad. While there, they were queried about their child’s birth certificate.
Was the birth certificate, fake? The JPN officer thought that the child did not look like his/her parents. In short, he suspected that the child had a fake birth certificate.
Naturally, the couple denied the matter. They stressed to the JPN officer that the birth certificate was real. The JPN officer accepted their explanation.
However, he asked them to get a DNA test done. The DNA test results would prove that the child was born of the mother.
Alternatively, he asked them to produce some receipts from the clinic where the child had been born. That, too, would be acceptable to the JPN officer.
Fake birth certificates vs Fake birth registration
There are actually two slightly different things at play, here.
A fake birth certificate means that the certificate itself is fake. It means that the certificate was falsified from the start.
Whereas, a fake birth registration means that the birth was fake. The parties stated in the birth certificate are simply not the original parents of the child.
But, a fake birth registration, can lead to a fake birth certificate.
When a couple registers a fake birth, they get a birth certificate and a MyKid at the JPN.
In many cases, this can be as simple as producing a clinic’s certificate that says, “This lady XYZ gave birth on this date, this time, to a boy/girl weighing X kg.”
The JPN often does not see the mother, and only sees the father.
The father comes with the note from the clinic, asking for a birth certificate.
JPN, seeing the note, issues the birth certificate and the MyKid for the child.
JPN never sees the child at this point.
Even if JPN saw the child, a newborn would not look like anyone in particular.
It’s only when the child comes to JPN at the age of 12, does JPN see the child.
And sometimes, the facial features of the child are too different from the parents.
That’s when a JPN officer can investigate a birth certificate, on the grounds that it is a fake birth certificate.
Do people register fake birth certificates?
Based on personal communication with some parties, it seems, there are people who register fake birth certificates.
Or, to put it another way, they register a birth using fake details, but JPN issues a genuine birth certificate.
So, what they are doing, is registering a fake birth.
Some couples do not have any children of their own, and do this as a way to “adopt” the child.
Some foreign workers, who are non-citizens, give up their newborns to adoptive parents. They hope that the adoptive parents will be able to give the newborn a better life in Malaysia.
We don’t know how often it happens, but it does.
Sometimes, JPN personnel are involved. (See the case of the fake MyKad syndicate.)
What are the legal implications?
If a couple has registered a birth using fake details, that is potentially an offence. That’s because the woman is saying to JPN, “I gave birth”, when in fact, it wasn’t her.
Section 36 of the Births and Deaths Registrations Act 1967 makes the following an offence.
- Wilfully making, or permitting to be made, a false statement, for registration;
- Wilfully/knowingly furnishing, or permitting to be furnished, false information, required by the Act;
- Knowingly making, or permitting to be made, false entry in the register;
- Wilfully destroying, or permitting to be destroyed, any entry in the register;
- Wilfully issuing a Birth Certificate, containing false information;
- Unlawfully tampering with any entry in the register;
- Wilfully and knowingly registering, or causing registration, of the birth of a person more than once;
- Using a birth certificate with knowledge or belief that it contains false information;
- Knowingly using or possessing a birth certificate, and claiming it, even though it belongs to someone else;
- Forging a birth certificate;
- Handing over a birth certificate to anyone, knowing it will be used unlawfully;
- Retaining the birth certificate of anyone, without lawful authority or excuse;
- Aiding and abetting any offence against the Act.
So, false information that leads to a wrongful registration, is an offence.
Wrongful registration that leads to issuance of a fake birth certificate, is an offence.
Providing fake information, even if it is only a note, is also an offence.
When the birth certificate is false, it can be seized and revoked.
As a result, the child may not be issued a MyKad. (See the case of Nalvin Dhillon.)
And the result of that, is the child may be deprived of citizenship.
Why would the child be deprived of citizenship?
Well, let’s look at it this way.
The child would derive his citizenship from his lawful parents.
So, if the child is born to a single mother, the child’s citizenship follows his natural mother.
If the child is born to a lawfully wedded couple, the child’s citizenship follows his father.
If the child was supposedly born to a Malaysian couple, but it turns out he wasn’t, then his citizenship is at risk.
The citizenship of a child relates back to his birth.
And the birth is evidenced by the birth certificate.
When a birth certificate is revoked, the child’s citizenship (that flows from father or mother) is then at risk.
It is possible, the revocation of a birth certificate, can also lead to a non-citizenship.
After all, if the child was born to an unmarried foreign mother, his citizenship should follow the foreign mother.
If the child was born to an unmarried Thai mother, his citizenship should be Thai.
Same thing, if the child was born to an unmarried China national, his citizenship should be Chinese.
Adoption of the child (Guardianship)
We made some enquiries, at various JPN branches.
We asked about the fake birth certificate. “What would happen,” we asked, “if the child was adopted?”
“The adoptive parents would become the legal guardians,” we were informed, “but the child will not be a citizen.”
Meaning to say, the adoptive parents would have guardianship rights.
But the child would not get citizenship rights.
This is the case, even if the adoptive parents are Malaysian.
Because citizenship goes back to the birth of the child, once the birth certificate is revoked, citizenship is at risk.
So, citizenship will continue to be a concern, even if the child is adopted.
And to make it clear, an adoption should be carried out, if the parents want to continue to care for the child.
After that, the adoptive parents may apply for citizenship for their adopted child.
Being the legal guardians of the child, they have such a right to apply for their adopted child to obtain citizenship.
On the plus side, the child would already be acclimatized to Malaysia, and be fluent in the national language.
There is a high chance that the child can apply for citizenship.
We will deal with the topic of citizenship in another article.
Please note that this article was prepared for general information purposes only. Every case is different, and so is yours.
In case of any enquiries, please consult with a practising lawyer before making any decision.
If you are interested to consult with us on the topic, please get in touch.
Thanks for reading!