Search This Blog

Monday, August 7, 2017

Azalina: New Bill on unilateral conversion to be tabled tomorrow

KUALA LUMPUR - The Government will table fresh amendments to the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) (Amendment) Bill 2016 relating to the unilateral conversion of children on Tuesday morning.

This new Bill will be tabled without Clause 88A which states that the religion of the child should remain the same despite the conversion of one of the parents.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said had earlier on Monday withdrew the Bill, which was listed Number 10 in the Order Paper, before the Question and Answer session.

In a statement she said: “The amendments needed to be done so that it would not be in conflict with the provisions under the Federal Constitution.”

Azalina said the fresh amendments would also be in line with the courts’ decisions on the interpretation of the Article 12 (4) of the Federal Constitution which states that the religion of a person under the age of 18 shall be decided by his parent or a guardian.

“Therefore, the Government hopes everyone will look at this positively to protect the multi-racial principle in our community.

“I hope all parties can support this new Bill without having to politicise it,” she said.

There were previously four cases involving a child conversion, with one being M. Indira Gandhi, who has faced a lengthy legal battle to gain custody and reverse the unilateral conversion of her children by her ex-spouse who converted to Islam.

It was initially read for the first time last November, but deferred after calls for the Government to postpone the tabling, including from Perak Mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria, who claimed that the amendments were against the Constitution.

Civil society groups and several political parties, who were supportive of the Bill, had questioned the deferment saying that it should not be delayed any further.

But Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had assured the public that the Cabinet would find ways to resolve inter-faith child custody conflicts between Muslim and non-Muslim parents.

No comments:

Post a Comment