'Sorry, you can't get married'
IT WAS to be their big day.
Dressed in their wedding finery and accompanied by 25 friends and relatives, the couple arrived at the Registry of Muslim Marriages (ROMM) on Monday to tie the knot.
Like the other couples there that day, Mr Mohamad Norizuan Shazali, 26, and his fiancee, Miss Sharafana Mohamad Shariff, 19, were excited.
Unlike the other couples, their joy was short-lived.
Before they could get their marriage solemnised, the couple were told that the groom was already married - something he claims to have no idea about.
But the proof was in the registry's marriage records. They show that a man with his name and identity-card number had married a woman from India in 2012.
Mr Norizuan, a driver, met Miss Sharafana at a barbecue on Changi Beach in January 2012. They started dating the following month.
She soon moved into Mr Norizuan's rented room in Whampoa.
They have an eight-month-old daughter and were planning to apply for an HDB flat after getting married. They now live with Mr Norizuan's parents in their Tampines flat.
The couple's solemnisation at the ROMM was scheduled for 9am.
Mr Norizuan had to make his statutory declaration before the solemnisation and the kadi (Muslim marriage solemniser) asked in a friendly manner if he had been married before. He replied no.
Mr Norizuan said: "He then keyed my identity-card number into his computer. His expression changed and he asked me the question again.
"I replied 'no' again. He didn't say anything, but he turned the monitor towards me so I could see the screen."
It showed Mr Norizuan's name and IC number had been registered in a civil marriage.
"I was confused and thought it was an error in the system.
"But when the counter staff told me I could be charged with making a false statutory declaration to get married, I was upset. How do I clarify that I am not the person who registered the civil marriage?"
Mr Norizuan approached the Registry of Marriages to get a copy of the civil-marriage certificate for $50.
It showed that he was married to an Indian national in 2012.
At 10am, ROMM staff told him to sign a form to cancel the solemnisation.
The couple made the painful decision to cancel their wedding, which included a 500-guest dinner.
Mr Norizuan suspected that his IC was misused to register the civil marriage.
He said: "I lost my IC in June 2012. Why would I put in the time and effort to prepare and pay for a wedding to my fiancee if I was knowingly married to someone else?"
Ms Sharafana, who is not working as she is looking after their baby, believes her fiance is telling the truth.
Breaking down in tears as she recalled their morning at the ROMM, she said: "I was very shocked, disappointed and embarrassed. We had to ask our relatives to leave because the solemnisation could not take place."
Mr Norizuan regrets not reporting the loss of his IC.
He said he had left it and his driving licence in a company lorry he was driving at the time. He forgot to lock the doors one night, and both cards were missing the next day.
He did not report the loss of his IC because he did not want to pay the $300 replacement fee, as it was the second time he had lost his IC.
Mr Norizuan said he had spent $15,000 of his savings on the wedding package and would not be able to get his money back.
"Now I don't know when we can get married. And, even if we can, we will no longer be able to afford the wedding we had planned to have," he said.