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Thursday, December 8, 2016

MCA to haul up rep over Perlis child conversion law

MCA regrets its Titi Tinggi assemblyperson Khaw Hock Kong did not express the party's stand and instead walked out, when the Perlis legislative assembly passed an amendment allowing for unilateral conversion of children.
"Our party leadership is of the view that Khaw should have expressed our party's firm position of 'ibubapa' (father and mother) during the debate in the state assembly," said MCA deputy president Wee Ka Siong in a Facebook posting last night.
"Our president Liow Tiong Lai has summoned him to provide an explanation to the MCA central committee which will convene a CC meeting on Monday," he said.
Yesterday's amendment to Perlis' Administration of the Religion of Islam Enactment 2006 has allowed either one of the parents to covert their child to Islam.
The amendment was tabled by Perlis Mentri Besar and Umno Pauh assemblyperson Azlan Man.
A majority of assemblypersons - 12 from Umno and one from PAS - except two voted in favour.
The MCA assemblyperson abstained in voting, while PKR's Indera Kayangan state assemblyperson Chan Ming Khai voted against the amendment.
MCA 'exceedingly disappointed'
Wee said MCA is "exceedingly disappointed and dismayed" as the amendment passed in the state assembly contravenes both the federal constitution and the amendment of the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) (Amendment) Bill 2016 (LRA) tabled in Parliament.
The federal amendment requires that if one parent converts to Islam, the child remains in the original religion before the parent's conversion.
The child may only be converted to Islam if both parents consent to the child's conversion.
"This is MCA's consistent stand which we will never compromise on and which we have raised in cabinet, that a minor's religion is to be determined by 'ibubapa' (both parents) as enshrined in the Federal Constitution as of 1970," he said.
According to the constitution, he said, the interpretation of parent clearly spells out that words in the singular include the plural and vice versa.
"Thus, any state or federal legislation or government policy or guideline which do not abide with the Federal Constitution, the supreme law of the land is ultra vires the Federal Constitution and must be rendered null and void," he said.

"The Perlis state lawmakers should have followed the LRA Bill to be in line with the federal Bill, rather than trying to subjugate the LRA Bill," said Wee, who is a minister in the Prime Minister's Department.
"MCA is determined that the proposed changes and new insertions in the LRA Bill will be passed at the next session of the Dewan Rakyat," he said.
The issue of unilateral conversion has raged for years, with several high profile cases of conversion and custody disputes remaining unresolved till today, for example the long-running Indira Gandhi case.- Mkini

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