Perlis Menteri Besar Azlan Man claimed the amendment to the state’s Administration of the Religion of Islam Enactment 2006 has been spun out of context.
"They are spinning things out of context," Azlan is quoted as saying by New Straits Times.
He was responding to the outcry against the Perlis state assembly’s approval yesterday of an amendment to Section 117(b) of the Malay language version of the 2006 enactment.
The section previously stated that a child who had not attained the age of 18 may only 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.
Azlan claimed the amendment had no legal effect as it was only a case of standardising the languages.
He pointed out that the English language of the law had used the word "parent" in the singular.
As such, Azlan said, the amendment to the Malay language version was to make it consistent with the English language version.
The issue of unilateral conversion has given rise to lengthy custody battles and setting the civil and syariah courts on collision course.The federal government had, in the last Parliament sitting, sought to address the issue by tabling the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) (Amendment) Bill 2016.
Under the proposed federal law amendment, if one parent converts to Islam, the child must remain in the original religion prior to the parent's conversion.
The child may only be converted to Islam if both parents consent to the child's conversion.
This amendment bill is expected to be debated and voted on in the next Parliament sitting in March.- Mkini