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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Businessman challenges unilateral conversion of two children by wife

A 44-year-old businessman has filed a judicial review application at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur to challenge his wife's unilateral conversion of their two children, an eight-year-old daughter and a four-year-old son.
Lee Chang Yong named the director-general of the Federal Territory Islamic Department (Jawi), Federal Territory Registrar of Muallaf, the director-general of the Education Ministry, the Malaysian government and his 30-year-old wife Teng Wai Yee @ Aleena Abdullah as respondents.
The application was filed on June 14 this year.
The case is quite similar to other reported unilateral conversion cases such as S Deepa vs N Viran and M Indira Gandhi vs K Pathmanathan.
Lee wants the court to quash the certificate of conversion, and a prohibition order to prevent the respondents or their agents from registering them as Muslims.
He also wants Jawi and the Registrar of Muallaf to quash the registration of his children as Muslims or a declaration that their affirmation of faith is null and void, and have no effect.

Lee also sought a declaration that the children did not change their religion and other relief deemed necessary by the court.
He also posed two questions that are to be decided by the Federal Court namely:
  • Whether the High Court has the exclusive jurisdiction pursuant to sections 23, 24, and 25 of the Courts of the Judicature Act 1964 (read together with Order 53 of the Rules of Court 2012) and/or its inherent jurisdiction to review the actions of the Registrar of Muallaf.
     
  • Whether the mother and father (if both are still surviving) of a child of a civil marriage must consent before a certificate of conversion to Islam be issued in respect of that child.
In Lee's affidavit of support, he said Aleena had petitioned for divorce before she certified her conversion in December last year.
It is understood that the matter came up for case management today before Justice Hanipah Farikullah, who has fixed Sept 7 to hear a preliminary objection from the Attorney-General's Chambers representing Jawi and the government.- Mkini

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