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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Amendment for conversion 'destroys' constitution

Amending several articles in the federal constitution to exclude Muslims in order to allow unilateral conversions of children to Islam, as suggested by the Perak mufti Harussani Zakaria, would have dire consequences, an inter-faith group said.

The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) said the amendments would also “destroy” the foundations of the constitution.

“Our view is that any such amendment as proposed would destroy the very fabric on which the constitution was built.

“It would also fundamentally alter the character of the constitution, a constitution which was carefully drawn by the framers...after consultation with all stakeholders,” its president Jagir Singh said in a statement.

In an article by Utusan Malaysia, later reproduced by The Star last weekend, Harussani said that Articles 3, 5 and 11 in relation to religion, liberty and freedom must be amended to exclude Muslims.

NONE“The provisions (which deal with the religion of the child) must be amended or added to, to exclude Muslims,” he was quoted byUtusan as saying.

He was commenting on the landmark High Court decision last week to nullify the conversion of three children to Islam by their father Muhammad Ridzuan Abdullah, a Muslim convert.

The court declared the conversion unconstitutional as it was not done in the presence of the children or their mother M Indira Ghandi.

Social contract

Harussani (below) was further quoted as saying that non-Muslims should not feel slighted by any amendments to exclude Muslims as this is part of the social contract, which saw non-Malays granted citizenship.

The mufti added that disputes over the religion of a child should have been resolved in the Syariah Court by a Muslim judge.

NONECalling this remark a “surprise”, Jagir said that the supreme law of the land is the federal constitution, while Islamic law only apply to a limited cases.

He added that sanctity of the constitution is also part of the Rukunegara, and that all must accept and abide by its supremacy.

Jagir said that any social contract would also have been reflected in the constitution.

“The social contract generally accepted is that in return for citizenship rights to non-Malays, special help in the form of special position of Malays, for the reservation of quotas as in Article 153 was agreed...initially only for 15 years,” he said.

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