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Saturday, December 10, 2016

'Putrajaya may not get enough votes for child conversion amendment'

Putrajaya may have agreed to amend the Federal Constitution to put an end to unilateral child conversion but it may not have enough votes in Parliament to do so, says constitutional expert Abdul Aziz Bari.
He said this was because a two-thirds majority, or 148 votes was required but BN only had 132 votes.
While it may not be difficult to get an additional 16 votes from the opposition, BN would need to ensure all its MPs, some of whom may not be keen on the amendment, to toe the line.
However, Aziz was sceptical of BN's legislative capability.
"The government can't even handle much simpler problems on the amendment to Syariah Court powers which did not require two-thirds majority support in parliament," he said in a statement today.
Another example, he said was the Perlis government introducing a contradictory policy to allow unilateral child conversion.
Yesterday, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Azalina Othman Said said Putrajaya agreed to amend Section 12(4) of the Federal Constitution to clearly state that conversion of minors must get the consent of both parents.

This was on top of introducing the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) (Amendment) Bill 2016 in Parliament, which stated that if one parent converted to Islam, the child must remain in the original religion unless there was consent from both parents for the conversion.
However, Aziz questioned if the proposed constitutional amendment was a "gimmick" due to the clear legislative challenges.
"It is much better if Umno can have a uniform stance on the matter (in all states) rather than having ministers paying lip service to pacify the non-Muslims but at the same time failing to keep their own backyard in order." - Mkini

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