The Borneo Post reports that Justice Datuk Yew Jen Kie ruled that the first and second respondents of the case, Sarawak Islamic Religious Department and the Sarawak Islamic Council, must issue a letter of release from Islam to Roneey Anak Rebit, whose former name was Azmi Mohamad Azam Shah.
The justice noted that Article 11 of the Malaysian Constitution provides for religious freedom, reports Christian Today.
Christianity in Malaysia is a minority religion practiced by an estimated 9.2 percent of the population, most of whom living in East Malaysia. The major Christian denominations in Malaysia include Anglicans, Baptists, Brethren, non-denominational churches, independent Charismatic churches, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterian and Roman Catholics.
Roneey converted to Islam when he was only 10 years and under the care of his parents, so could not be considered a person truly professing his religion on his own accord at the time. Upon reaching adulthood, he chose to convert to Christianity and was baptized in 1999.
Before the court ruled in favor of the petitioner after decades of 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.
Ultimately, the high court contended that because Roneey was a minor at the time of professing faith in Islam, his identification with Islam can be relinquished and his conversion to Christianity upheld.
Roneey was not present at the time of the ruling because he is working overseas.