The Star: Switched At Birth Follow Up – The Chance to Choose Own Religion?

A continuation of the case of the man who got switched at birth decades ago (my post on that readable here). Now he wants to change his stated religion. My comments at the bottom of this post.


The Star 5 Feb 2007:

Going his own way since he was 13

JOHOR BARU: At 13, he was supporting himself, washing dishes after school to pay for his books and rented room.  

Zulhaidi Omar, 29, said he had never been tempted to take the easy way out by dropping out of school or straying into a life of crime. Instead, he worked at restaurants until midnight and washed cars to put himself through secondary school.  

Zulhaidi: Wanted to taste a life of independence

Now a sales executive with a diploma in Business Administration, Zulhaidi said he was neither abused nor disowned by his family but he wanted to be independent. 

Unknown to him, he had been swapped at birth during a mix-up at the hospital in Batu Pahat. 

“By the time I was in primary school, I knew I was different from the rest of my family members as I could tell the difference between their features and my obviously Chinese appearance,” he said at a press conference. 

After a chance meeting that reunited him with his biological family eight years ago, Zulhaidi now wants to change his name to a Chinese one.  

Zulhaidi is hoping the authorities would allow him to state his religion as Buddhism on his MyKad. 

Bandar Baru Tampoi MCA branch chairman Michael Tay said Zulhaidi was never given the chance to choose his own religion because of a mistake made at birth. 

“Under the Federal Constitution, everybody is allowed the freedom to choose his own religion, but Zulhaidi was never given that chance. 

“We will try the diplomatic method first through negotiations with state officials and the hospital where he was born. If that fails, then we will have to seek legal recourse,” he said, adding that might even include a suit against the hospital for negligence. 

State religious officials were unavailable for comment.


The argument for allowing him to change his religion is that he ‘was never given the chance to choose his own religion because of a mistake made at birth.’

If he is allowed to go through with this, will all the other people who never had a chance to choose their religion also be allowed to convert if they wish to? After all, the vast majority of people are born into a certain religion.

At birth, they are automatically entered into the religion that their family adheres to. They didn’t make the decision for themselves, being just babies. From then on, they are simply brought up following said religion without being offered any alternative choice or any say in the matter, even when they are mature enough to contemplate such a choice.

So practically, they too ‘were never given the chance to choose their religion’.

So are such people who were auto-indoctrinated since birth given the right to make an informed, mature and non-pressured choice as adults?

Or will those who ‘were never given a chance to choose their own religion’ basically NEVER EVER be given a chance to choose their own religion?

Perhaps this case will open up the way for the right to freely choose our own religion, as a personal matter or one between us and God.

It would be amazing to see how God set His plans for the present into motion through a seemingly unfortunate ‘mistake’, 29 long years in the past.

4 Responses to “The Star: Switched At Birth Follow Up – The Chance to Choose Own Religion?”

  1. Pete Says:

    I dread to read about the ‘war’ that will follow…. The religious authorities will never give in until they make a scene. I hope I’m wrong this time.

  2. Xashini Says:

    all this occurred because of someone did not pay attention to their work. One person’s lapse of concentration has resulted in so much hardship for so many people in 2 families.
    Pls read the comment in Dr Hsu’s forum on this issue.

  3. hsudarren Says:

    SCOTT, You are invied to view my latest post on the suggestion of a constitutional court. I think this court can help Zulhaidi and the like to convert back to the religions of their natural parents. But we need unbiased and fairminded judges of course.

    hsudarren from

  4. Asian Harry Potter Says:

    Every word and sentences you read, bear in mind that I’m speaking from the perspective of a free thinker. My use/comment/judgement of any religion does not bind me to that religion or against it, but is simply an opinion/two sens of my free thinker perspective.

    “those who ‘were never given a chance to choose their own religion’ basically NEVER EVER be given a chance to choose their own religion?”

    True ONLY for the disspeakably ***** **** forceful religion of islam. How many % of muslims actually believe/want to be a muslim? They are muslims because they were forcefully labeled as one, not because they actually believe in it or want to be. I know I may certainly be wrong about these numbers, but I’m just assuming that less than 10% of muslims are those that really believe/want to be. Whereas in the case of any other religion, it is safe to say that anyone who is above 18/21(depends on country) is living the faith that he/she sees as true as they have been given the freedom and liberty to choose the faith which they believe is true.

    A soul in heaven may request to go to hell and surely God will not force him/her to stay, but Satan will NEVER let any of his unfortunate followers go even if his/her repentance has reached God’s mercy and have been forgiven, for Satan shall argue over His rights towards his followers who have chosen to live His ways.

    From the little bit of research I’ve done, and still looking at it from the perspective of a free thinker, muslims are forced to live the way of islam while in Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism and many other(if not all other) religions, they were given free will to choose the way of their life, for it is free will that separates us humans from any other beings. For example, in the teachings of Karma, when you do good, you shall be blessed with goodness and vice ver sa. Thus they are given the freedom to do as they wish but with a warning of the bad things to come as a result of their bad/evil doings.

    Imagine the cruel fate of accidentally being placed in a job like the septic tank cleaner/maintenance worker then even if you are able qualify for a better job, your employer chokes your throat with his iron fist and forces you to stay or else you’d be most mercilessly tortured and slaughtered to death.

    Imagine being born into a family of criminals(a false religion in the eyes of the one who wishes to convert) then even if you wish to turn a new leaf(convert to a religion which you believe is the truth), you are held down by the bloody sinful hands of the ‘family’ whom you were born into. You are then forced to follow their ways or be persecuted/crucified.

    How could a rape victim love he(there are cases of guys being raped by girls and rape cases involving gays/lesbians but lets take a more comment category) who have raped her(how can one trust completely a religion which have been forced onto one self)? Would it not have been much more easier for a lady to give her self up to a man she loves and wouldn’t the relationship be more sincere and long lasting this way(would one not commit one self completely to a religion of one’s choice)?

    A forced religion cannot save anyone. One may be a muslim by name but he can be rejective to it’s teachings because he never believes in the religion but was forced to do do so. Thus, with all the acts of protest, he may end up in hell anyway. Where as one who have the freedom of faith is more likely to live and follow the teachings of that faith he/she chooses and bear in mind that all faith teaches good for that is what that persuades the heart of men towards a religion. Would they not face a greater chance of salvation then?

    1. live a sinful life by the name of a ‘true’ religion. In other words, only religion by name.
    2. live a good life by the name of a ‘false’ religion(all religion teaches good).

    Which stands a better chance of salvation?

    All religions are good, it is only the followers that aren’t. Well, I do have doubt in islam though.. but only because of the cruel(remember, it is out of goodness that mans’ heart are persuaded towards a faith, because of this part, my heart turns away) way they force one to carry it’s name even though they absolutely do not believe in it. Otherwise, the teachings, I suppose, are good.

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