Babies swapped at birth need to take biological father’s name after truth unfolds

Datuk Mohamad Shukri Mohamad

This is part three of four series on babies swapped at birth

By Mohd Afiq Zulkifli

KUALA LUMPUR: Babies who are accidentally swapped at birth and raised by parents who are not their biological parents should take the name of their biological father after the truth is known to avoid complications in future, especially in terms of inheritance.

This also goes for adopted children, said Kelantan Mufti Datuk Mohamad Shukri Mohamad.

He said the reason being that, in Islamic law, only the biological children have inheritance right to their parents’ property.

“Indeed, it is compulsory for a child to take the name of his/her biological father, The child cannot simply take the name of his/her adopted father. It is ‘haram’ if done intentionally, but in the case of babies who are accidentally swapped at birth, InsyaAllah, God forgives.

“But in terms of the National Registration Department (NRD), if the law says the father’s name cannot be changed, it is alright, but it should be recorded that that the child is adopted.

“Otherwise, the child can claim for the property in court,” he told Bernama when contacted.

Mohamad Shukri said this in response to a Bernama report on a twin sister who was swapped with another child at birth and how tragic it was for the three girls and the two affected families after they found out the truth 19 years later.

The truth was unfolded last year following a deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) test conducted in September last year.

Mohamad Shukri said it is not an offence for the children who were swapped at birth to continue to stay with the family that had raised them because they have been regarded a member of the family, being a milk sibling.

On the DNA test, Mohamad Shukri said it could be accepted as a mechanism to determine “nasab” (lineage) between the child and father.

Meanwhile, Universiti Putra Malaysia Human Genetics Specialist, Associate Professor Dr Thilakavathy Karuppiah said a child would have 50 per cent of the mother’s DNA and 50 per cent of the father’s DNA.

“In fact, each individual has a different DNA profile, except for identical twins,” she said, adding that a DNA test results of between 96 per cent and 99.99 per cent cannot be disputed.

“When a result is disputed, it does not mean the result is negative. The higher the percentage, the more likely it is that the individuals tested have kinship ties,” she said. – Bernama