It took 33 years but a Malaysian man was finally granted permission by the country's High Court to renounce Islam and embrace Christianity.
Based on the decision handed down by Justice Datuk Yew Jen Kie, the first and second respondents of the case - Sarawak Islamic Religious Department and the Sarawak Islamic Council, were ordered to issue a letter of release from Islam to the petitioner whose original name Azmi Mohamad Azam Shah, reported The Borneo Post.
The court also ordered the National Registry to change his name to Roneey Anak Rebit and update his religion from Islam to Christian.
The Justice cited the provisions of Article 11 of the Federal Constitution, which grants freedom of religion.
Roneey converted to Islam when he was only 10 years and under the care of his parents, and therefore could not be considered a person professing his religion at the time. Upon reaching adulthood, he chose to convert to Christianity and was baptised in 1999.
Before the court ruled in favour of the petitioner after the decades long deliberation, the first and second respondents of the case already agreed to issue a Letter of No Objection to Come out from Islam to Roneey. However, the third respondent, the director general of the National Registration Department, sought for the same order to come from the Syariah Court.
However, the court ruling, in citing that the petitioner's conversion happened at the time he was a minor, said that he should not fall under the ruling of the Syariah Court because his conversion to Islam was not a choice that he made for himself.
The petitioner was not present at the time of the ruling as he was already working overseas at the time.