Ipoh Barat MP M Kulasegaran has suggested that MCA lobby Perlis Menteri Besar Azlan Man to reverse an amendment allowing unilateral conversion in order to redeem the party's bungled legislative move.
This was after MCA central committee member Ti Lian Ker defended its Titi Tinggi assemblyperson Khaw Hock Kong for walking out of the state assembly instead of debating or voting against the amendment.
“If MCA wants to redeem itself, it should get the Perlis menteri besar to convene an emergency sitting of the state assembly to nullify the unilateral conversion amendment,” he said.
The DAP lawmaker said anything less would be unacceptable.
On Dec 8, the Perlis state assembly passed an amendment to the Administration of the Religion of Islam Enactment 2006, allowing one parent to convert a child to Islam.
The amendment was to the Malay language version of the enactment, which previously stated that a child who had not reached the age of 18, may convert to Islam with the consent of both “father and mother” or the guardian.
“Father and mother” was replaced with “father or mother” in the amendment to Section 117(b) of the enactment.
MCA’s Khaw walked out while PKR’s Indera Kayangan state assemblyperson Chan Ming Khai voted against the amendment.
All other state assemblypersons, 12 from Umno and one from PAS, voted in favour.
Khaw’s move was met with criticism, prompting the MCA central leadership to issue him a stern warning.
However, Kulasegaran criticised the lenient punishment and the lack of follow-up action.
“Why is MCA not thinking of doing anything to correct its stand in the assembly?
“MCA has definitely let down the people and it cannot hope to redeem its image by mere talk and explanations,” he said.
He also questioned the commitment of MCA and MIC ministers in upholding the government’s 2009 decision banning unilateral conversion of minors.
Perlis Menteri Besar Azlan Man downplayed the amendment, claiming it had no legal effect and was merely a case of standardising the Malay version of the law with the English one, which purportedly used the word “parent” in the singular.- Mkini