Malaysia draws up list of unsuitable names for children
KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) – Malaysian parents will no longer be allowed to give their children names deemed unsuitable by authorities, a report says.
According to the New Straits Times, the National Registration Department will not allow names with undesirable meanings in the languages used by the country’s three main ethnic groups.
Malaysia’s population of 26 million is dominated by some 60 percent Malays, 26 percent Chinese and eight percent Indians.
Department spokesperson Jainisah Mohd Noor was quoted by the newspaper as saying the list was compiled following input from various religious and cultural groups.
“We are just helping to disseminate the information we have,” Jainisah was quoted as saying in the report.
Among the Malays, names such as Zani — which means male adulterer, and Woti — sexual intercourse, were banned, the report said.
For Indians, Karrupan, which means black fellow, is equally as taboo as are names which denote “fair skin,” such as Sivappi and Vellayan, it said.
Jainisah said parents could not name their babies after colours, animals, insects, fruits or vegetables.
In the past, some in the Chinese community gave their children inauspicious names believing it would ward off evil spirits and bad luck.
Now, names such as Ah Kow — dog in the Cantonese dialect, or Ah Gong — unsound mind, are prohibited. Other Chinese names on the banned list included Chow Tow and Sum Seng which mean smelly head and gangster respectively.
Parents who insisted on bestowing names on the list could appeal to the department, Jainisah said.
“We can only advise them, but if they are insistent even after knowing they are unsuitable, they may be allowed to use them,” she said.
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