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Monday, August 7, 2017

Zaid targets MCA, MIC over unilateral conversion bill withdrawal

Former minister Zaid Ibrahim says MIC, MCA presidents will know 'injustice of unilateral conversion when a son-in-law converts their grandson to win custody'.
PETALING JAYA: Zaid Ibrahim has called out Barisan Nasional component parties over their silence on the issue of unilateral conversion, following the withdrawal of the amendments to the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) (Amendment) Act 2016 by the government yesterday.
This followed the shocking move by the government to withdraw the bill which it had first tabled in November last year.
“MIC/MCA presidents will know the injustice of unilateral conversion if one day their son-in-law converted their grandson to win custody,” the former law minister said in a tweet this morning.
The former minister followed this message with two more tweets within minutes, expressing his ire at the sudden U-turn by the government.
“They are selfish and deserve nothing from the voters. They cannot even defend the right of a mother to custody.”
“Taliban will say everyone has a right to be a Muslim. But that’s not the issue. Issue is simply a just solution to custody.”
In the Dewan Rakyat yesterday, as the first order of the day, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Azalina Othman Said informed the House that the government was withdrawing the amendment bill.
“Under Standing Order 62, I withdraw the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Amendment 2016, as stated under number 10 of the Order Paper,” she had said.
The bill was initially expected to be debated at this sitting, after other bills had taken precedence in the previous session of the Parliament last March and April.
The amendments were aimed at resolving conflicts arising from interfaith custody battles between Muslim and non-Muslim parents, in cases when a non-Muslim parent converts to Islam before going through the necessary divorce under civil law.
It followed several cases of custody battles that went to the courts when one spouse converted their child or children without the consent of the other, causing trauma for all parties, especially their young children.
The amendments had included a new provision pertaining to the religion of the child, with Section 88A(1) stating that if a parent converts to Islam, the religion of the children remains the same unless both parents agree to the conversion of their children.
That is believed to be the provision to be removed before the government tables a new Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Amendment 2016 bill today.
Zaid, who joined DAP earlier this year, said he will join his party colleagues in speaking out against the government’s latest action.
“I’m going to join DAP colleagues in Parliament today to speak about another failure of BN leaders to be fair to all,” he said in his last Twitter message on the topic this morning. - FMT

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