NEWS

No Fee For Changing Names At Registration

This clarification was made in Parliament yesterday by the Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Minister for Education Premila Kumar after SODELPA MP and Opposition Whip Lynda Tabuya informed Parliament on Monday that a deed poll would need to be done and $500 would need to be paid.
23 Sep 2021 11:36
No Fee For Changing Names At Registration
Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

No woman will need to pay $500 to change their names on their birth certificate.

In fact, this change can be done at Birth, Death and Marriage Registry office for free.

And women will not lose their right to vote if they chose to legally change their surnames and take on their husband’s surname.

This clarification was made in Parliament yesterday by the Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Minister for Education Premila Kumar after SODELPA MP and Opposition Whip Lynda Tabuya informed Parliament on Monday that a deed poll would need to be done and $500 would need to be paid.

Ms Kumar said: “It is a matter of concern that Honourable Lynda Tabuya has once again misled this house by stating that those women who have been using their married name (adopted their husband’s name) can potentially lose their right to vote come the next general election. This is a deliberate misinterpretation of the Bill.

“This is not true. As a matter of fact, and as explained by the Honourable Attorney-General, married women who wish to adopt their husband’s name can visit the Births, Deaths and Marriages (BDM) registry and get it changed without getting a Deed Poll done and spending $500 as claimed by Honourable Tabuya.

“There is nothing convoluted about this process of amending one’s name and it will not require the hiring of a private lawyer who will charge an exorbitant legal fee. In fact, laws are being periodically reviewed precisely to enhance access to justice in the interests of the most vulnerable in our communities and to ease bureaucratic impediments.”

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama in his contribution stated that: “the fundamentals of a democratic and accountable governance set out under the 2013 Constitution are important enablers which involves a commitment to a free and fair general election. In preparation for the 2022 General Election and beyond, we will continuously support the effective conduct of election through reviewing and reforming its legislative frameworks and allocating more resources and attention to enable its effectiveness and integrity.”

 

The Bill:

The Bill which was passed in Parliament yesterday ensures that a person can be registered as a voter with the name on the person’s birth certificate.

Mr. Sayed-Khaiyum explained that given the era where identity theft was possible, some amendments needed to provide clear guidelines on voter registration.

“Otherwise, you have people travelling, having passports, having voter registrations under different names different aliases,” he said.

“We never used to have this requirement in the banks those of you who are old enough to know and most of the people in SODELPA are old enough to know this.

“You could simply go and open a bank account a few decades ago. Now you have (KYC) Know Your Customer identity, point system. If you do not have certain identities, they will not open bank accounts. The Voter Identification Card in Fiji, Mr. Speaker, Sir, since 2014 is now used as an authentic form of identification by the banks that must comply with various laws including the Financial Transactions Reporting Act (FTRA) which must comply with international standards, otherwise Fiji would get blacklisted by other trading banks or internationally.

“This is why it is critically important to ensure we have authentication of your identification. It is critically important. And here we are getting the smallest board of opinions for political reasons, Mr. Speaker, Sir.”

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

 

 



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