Unilateral Conversion: Federal Court decision ‘overruled’ by Home Ministry?

𝐅𝐞𝐝𝐞𝐫𝐚𝐥 𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐭 𝐝𝐞𝐜𝐢𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐨𝐧 𝐮𝐧𝐢𝐥𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐚𝐥 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 ‘𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐫𝐮𝐥𝐞𝐝’ 𝐛𝐲 𝐇𝐨𝐦𝐞 𝐌𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐲?

MCA stands with the retired senior civil servants who form G25 who from the past have exhorted that the original wording of Article 12(4) ie “ibubapa” in the Perlembagaan Persekutuan be restored, for the avoidance of doubt. This was the terminology used up till the 2002 edition of the Perlembagaan Persekutuan until it was somehow arbitrarily modified in subterfuge to “ibu atau bapa.” By not going through the necessary debates in the Dewan Rakyat or the Senate, its original meaning has been completely altered via legislation leaving a watershed impact and injustice against non-converting parents.

MCA reasserts our long-standing consistent stand that should a minor child’s faith be disputed by the parents, it must remain as status quo, until the child reaches the age of majority ie 18 years, upon which, the child shall decide.

It is appalling that the Pakatan Harapan government shows the proverbial third finger to the unanimous Federal Court decision which on 29 Jan 2018 had ruled that consent of both parents must be sought in determining a minor child’s faith, and that Article 12 (4) which states the word “parent” should not be construed literally: “It must require the consent of both parents. Custody of the children, the appellant, has a dominant influence in their lives.”

Hence, the refusal by the Home Ministry as conveyed by its Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to re-insert Section 88A relating to the religious conversion of a child below the age of 18, into the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 on grounds that it contravened Article 12 (4) of the Federal Constitution is nonsensical as the apex court has already determined the interpretation of “parent” means plural. The judgement is in line with the 11th Schedule of the Federal Constitution which reads that “words in the singular include the plural, and words in the plural include the singular.”

We are further taken aback by the Home Minister’s elaboration that the decision was made as it is “in line with the Attorney-General’s Chambers’ view on Article 12(4) of the Federal Constitution which states that the religion of a person under the age of 18 years shall be decided unilaterally by his parent or guardian.”

How long more do unknown parents in similar situations like Indira Gandhi, S. Deepa have to cry and suffer in silence over the authorities’ sanction of religion being taken advantaged of? It has been 10 long years since Indira’s infant daughter was removed and unilaterally converted by her Muallaf ex-husband but to date, this issue holds no resolve be it practical or legislation.

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐧 𝐐𝐮𝐢𝐧 𝐄𝐫 & 𝐑𝐲𝐚𝐧 𝐇𝐨 𝐊𝐰𝐨𝐤 𝐗𝐡𝐞𝐧𝐠


No plans to amend law to ban unilateral conversion of minors, Muhyiddin says: https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/…/no-plans-to-amend-law-…/

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