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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Gov't can end unilateral conversion by amending constitution but...

The government can still push to end the unilateral conversion of minors by first amending the Federal Consitution, said Umno minister Nazri Abdul Aziz.
This is the only way to have Section 88A of Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Bill be tabled in the Parliament again, he added.
However, Nazri said, with only 134 lawmakers, the BN government do not have the two-thirds majority to amend the Federal Constitution.
The tourism and culture minister noted that the bill which was tabled today has nine amendments which would be beneficial to the non-Muslims.
"As for the last amendment, we (will) wait until BN gets the two-thirds majority. Then we amend (the Federal Constitution)," Nazri (photo) said after officiating the Merdeka Art Exhibition at the National Visual Arts Gallery.
"We want to do it, (but) we just do not have the numbers."
Yesterday, de facto Law Minister Azalina Othman Said said the proposal to introduce Section 88A to end the unilateral conversion of minors will be scrapped from the bill to amend the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 (LRA).
Nazri, who pushed hard to ban unilateral conversion when he was the law minister, said he would follow the government's decision as he respects the Federal Constitution.
Asked why the government did not seek support from the opposition to amend the constitution, he replied it may lead to a vote of no-confidence against BN if the opposition lawmakers vote against it.
Nazri said BN is not sure whether they would get the support as there are some Islamic groups in the opposition.
"We are not sure whether they will support us, because if we lose, it is a vote of no-confidence against us. So, we do not want to take the risk.
"If we sit down and talk to them, it will take longer (time), we might miss this (Parliament) session," he added.

Meanwhile, DAP organising secretary Anthony Loke, who shared the same stage with Nazri, said the concerns showed by the minister are unfounded.
"I think the question does not arise because the government has never consulted us on the amendment to the Federal Constitution," he said.
"We do not have any problem supporting an amendment that can benefit the people. If there is an attempt to discuss it, of course, we are prepared." - Mkini

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