Suhakam gives thumbs up to bill to stop unilateral child conversion

Source: FMT News

Suhakam urges Parliament to speedily resolve issue of unilateral conversion of children and the ‘many obstacles to the full enjoyment of the right to freedom of religion’. Pic from FMT News.

Suhakam urges Parliament to speedily resolve issue of unilateral conversion of children and the ‘many obstacles to the full enjoyment of the right to freedom of religion’. Pic from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) has thrown its weight behind proposed legislative amendments to prevent the unilateral conversion of children.

It said amendments to the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 (Act 164) would balance the best interests of the child with the constitutional rights of the parents as both parties in a civil marriage would have to give consent for the child to be converted to Islam.

Suhakam also expressed support for the proposal that children keep their religious affiliations and freely decide on their faith when they reach the age of 18.

In its 2016 annual report, the commission said such issues were essential to promote understanding, tolerance and respect in matters relating to freedom of religion and belief.

“Suhakam stresses the issue of unilateral conversion of children in Malaysia and the many obstacles to the full enjoyment of the right to freedom of religion must be quickly resolved by Parliament,” it said. Read more

Law Reform Act: Government’s decision based on national interest, says DPM

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (centre) stated that the government’s decision to amend the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 was based on national interest. — Bernama pic

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (centre) stated that the government’s decision to amend the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 was based on national interest. — Bernama pic

PUTRAJAYA, April 4 — Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today stated that the government’s decision to amend the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 or Act 164 was based on national interest.

Responding to the suggestion by Perak Mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria for the decision to be withdrawn, Ahmad Zahid who is also Home Minister, said he respected the views expressed and fatwa (edict) issued before on the matter.

“However, as stated by the Dewan Rakyat Speaker (Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia), we would view this as national interest being above other interests. Read more

Majlis Peguam gesa percepat pindaan akta tukar agama anak

Sumber: FMT News

Steven Thiru berkata, kerajaan juga perlu menyeragamkan undang-undang Islam di semua negeri yang memperuntukkan kedudukan bertentangan.

Malaysian Bar president Steven Thiru. Pic taken from FMT News.

Malaysian Bar president Steven Thiru. Pic taken from FMT News.

PUTRAJAYA: Majlis Peguam Malaysia mengalu-alukan pembentangan pindaan terhadap Akta Membaharui Undang-undang (Perkahwinan dan Perceraian) 1976, November lalu, bagi menangani isu penukaran agama kanak-kanak kepada Islam secara sebelah pihak atau unilateral.

Justeru, majlis itu menggesa kerajaan mempercepatkan cadangan pindaan tersebut.

Presidennya, Steven Thiru berkata, cadangan pindaan itu akan memastikan kanak-kanak berkenaan kekal dalam agama ibu bapanya pada waktu perkahwinan mereka, sebelum salah seorang pasangan itu memeluk Islam.

Di samping mempercepatkan pindaan itu, kerajaan juga perlu bergerak ke arah menyeragamkan undang-undang Islam di semua negeri yang memperuntukkan kedudukan bertentangan, katanya pada majlis perasmian istiadat badan kehakiman sempena Tahun Undang-undang 2017 semalam.

Ketika cadangan pindaan akta tersebut belum muktamad, katanya, badan perundangan negeri perlu mengelak mengubal undang-undang yang membenarkan penukaran agama secara sebelah pihak. Read more

Lawyers: States’ unilateral child conversions void if federal ban kicks in

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Reuters pic

Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 13 — Unilateral child conversions will likely become void when a proposed federal ban takes effect should state Islamic authorities ignore the ban, lawyers said.

Family law expert Balwant Singh Sidhu said that if the proposed inclusion of Section 88A to the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 (LRA) makes it clear that both parents’ consent is required for a valid conversion of a child of a civil marriage, the other party who did not consent will succeed by getting the civil court to declare the conversion registered by state religious authorities as void.

“If state religious authorities still continue to convert children when the converted parent goes to them, without the consent of the other parent, after 88A is passed, then they would be going against a federal law, and the conversion may later be declared void by a civil court, so they would have acted in vain,” the family lawyer with over 30 years of experience told Malay Mail Online yesterday when contacted.

Under the proposed list of amendments to the LRA tabled in Parliament late last month, Section 88A(1) says, among other things, that a child’s religion will remain as the religion of both parties of a civil marriage before one of them converts to Islam, unless both parties agree on the child’s conversion. Read more

What if it happened to us, former minister asks ‘facilitators’ of unilateral conversion — Zaid Ibrahim

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Perlis legislative assembly approved the Islamic Religion Administration Enactment (Amendment) 2016 Bill by a 13-1 majority on 9 December 2016. Image taken from FMT News.

Perlis legislative assembly approved the Islamic Religion Administration Enactment (Amendment) 2016 Bill by a 13-1 majority on 9 December 2016. Image taken from FMT News.

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 12 — Perlis lawmakers who passed an amendment to permit unilateral conversion were disregarding the suffering that the practise could cause, according to Datuk Zaid Ibrahim.

The former de facto law minister said while the Muslim assemblymen who voted in favour of the change may believe they were acting for the benefit of their faith, they were being unfair to the families who would be affected.

“How would they feel if (hypothetically) a non-Muslim parent could unilaterally convert a Muslim child to Hinduism or Christianity? They would cry: that’s not fair. The whole country would be in turmoil,” he wrote on his blog today.

“And yet these same Muslims don’t think about treating others with fairness because others cannot convert their Muslim children. They are spared the need to reciprocate and be reasonable. That’s what too much power can do to Malays.”

Non-Muslims are forbidden by law to proselytise to or convert Muslims in Malaysia, but not vice versa.

Perlis last week amended its Administration of the Religion of Islam Enactment 2006 from requiring the consent of both parents or a guardian, to the consent of one parent or guardian. Read more

Lawyers: Change state Islamic laws to match proposed unilateral child conversion ban

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Perlis legislative assembly approved the Islamic Religion Administration Enactment (Amendment) 2016 Bill by a 13-1 majority on 9 December 2016. Image taken from FMT News.

Perlis legislative assembly approved the Islamic Religion Administration Enactment (Amendment) 2016 Bill by a 13-1 majority on 9 December 2016. Image taken from FMT News.

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 11 — All state Islamic laws that currently allow children to be unilaterally converted to Islam should be amended to match a proposed federal law barring such acts, lawyers have said.

Lawyers said that the Perlis amendment of its state law on Thursday — which removed the need for both parents’ consent before a child can be converted to Islam — contradicts and conflicts with a planned federal law amendment.

Lawyer Surendra Ananth said if the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act’s (LRA) planned amendment which will require both parents’ consent before a child from a civil marriage is converted to Islam is passed and comes into force, the conflicting Perlis amendment requiring only either parent’s consent will be “null and void” in such cases.

“The Islamic Enactment made by the Perlis State Legislative assembly is a form of state law. It’s status does not change just because it is a “religious law”. It is like any other State law, and therefore must give way to federal law and the Federal Constitution,” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted, citing the Federal Constitution’s Article 75 which says federal law will prevail over inconsistent state laws. Read more

Pindaan enakmen Perlis bergantung keputusan mahkamah, kata peguam

Sumber: FMT News

Enakmen Perlis tidak berpelembagaan jika Mahkamah Persekutuan membuat keputusan memihak kepada kes Indira yang sedang dipertimbangkan, kata Fahri Azzat.

Perlis legislative assembly approved the Islamic Religion Administration Enactment (Amendment) 2016 Bill by a 13-1 majority on 9 December 2016. Image taken from FMT News.

Perlis legislative assembly approved the Islamic Religion Administration Enactment (Amendment) 2016 Bill by a 13-1 majority on 9 December 2016. Image taken from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: Pindaan Enakmen Pentadbiran Agama Islam 2016 oleh Dewan Undangan Negeri Perlis yang membenarkan penukaran unilateral kanak-kanak bawah umur bergantung kepada keputusan Mahkamah Persekutuan, kata peguam.

Fahri Azzat berkata, rakyat Malaysia terpaksa menunggu keputusan mencabar undang-undang dibawa guru tadika M Indira Gandhi, yang memohon membatalkan sijil penukaran agama 3 anaknya.

“Enakmen Perlis akan tidak akan mengikut Perlembagaan jika mahkamah tertinggi membuat keputusan memihak kepada Indira. Undang-undang negeri akan menjadi sah jika rayuannya ditolak,” katanya kepada FMT.

Beliau berkata, prinsip undang-undang yang ditubuhkan Mahkamah Persekutuan akan mengikat negeri.

Fahri berkata demikian sebagai respons kepada tindakan Dewan Undangan Negeri Perlis yang meluluskan pindaan itu dengan majoriti 13-1. Read more

MIC, MCA leaders slam Perlis govt legislation allowing unilateral conversion of minors to Islam

Source: NST Online

Perlis legislative assembly approved the Islamic Religion Administration Enactment (Amendment) 2016 Bill by a 13-1 majority  on 9 December 2016. Image taken from FMT News.

Perlis legislative assembly approved the Islamic Religion Administration Enactment (Amendment) 2016 Bill by a 13-1 majority on 9 December 2016. Image taken from FMT News.

KUALA LUMPUR: Barisan Nasional component party leaders have slammed the Perlis government for passing a legislation to allow for unilateral conversion of a minor to Islam.

MIC president Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said unilateral conversions had been “the central core of discord” in many cases, citing kindergarten teacher Indira Ghandi’s custodial dispute case in 2015.

“While the federal cabinet has been trying to find a permanent solution to an issue which has been identified as a major thorn in inter-religious relationships in this country, this act by a BN government is a major step backwards to religious harmony in this country.

“It is going to cause greater disunity among the people of Malaysia,” he said in a statement today. Prior to the amendment, Perlis’ Administration of the Religion of Islam Enactment 2006 required the consent of both the father and mother for the conversion of a child under the age of 18.

It was reported that Section 117 of the enactment, with the phrase in the Malay version “father and mother or guardian” was changed to “father or mother or guardian” to give consent for children under 18 years old to be converted to Islam.

The amendment comes just weeks after a bill was tabled in Parliament to prevent from unilateral conversion of a child. Read more

Tukar agama: Undang-undang persekutuan atasi negeri, kata Azalina

Sumber: FMT News

Pindaan kepada undang-undang negeri tidak boleh digunakan sekiranya pindaan Akta Membaharui Undang-Undang (Perkahwinan dan Perceraian) 1976 diluluskan

Perlis legislative assembly approved the Islamic Religion Administration Enactment (Amendment) 2016 Bill by a 13-1 majority on 9 December 2016. Image taken from FMT News.

Perlis legislative assembly approved the Islamic Religion Administration Enactment (Amendment) 2016 Bill by a 13-1 majority on 9 December 2016. Image taken from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: Undang-undang persekutuan mengatasi undang-undang negeri sekiranya berlaku ketaktekalan, kata Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Azalina Othman.

Maka, sekiranya kerajaan persekutuan berjaya meminda Akta Membaharui Undang-Undang (Perkahwinan dan Perceraian) 1976 (LRA), pindaan enakmen Perlis yang didakwa membolehkan anak diislamkan dengan persetujuan ibu atau bapa sahaja tidak boleh boleh digunakan.

Menurut Azalina, Dewan Undangan Negeri Perlis berhak meminda Enakmen Pentadbiran Agama Islam 2006.

“Pada masa yang sama, rang undang-undang yang dibentangkan kerajaan untuk meminda LRA tepat pada masanya dan langkah yang positif.

“Sekiranya pindaan diluluskan, ia akan menjadi undang-undang persekutuan.

“Adalah dimaklumkan Perkara 75 Perlembagaan Persekutuan menyatakan mana-mana undang-undang negeri yang berlawanan dengan undang-undang persekutuan, maka undang-undang persekutuan mengatasinya,” katanya beliau dalam satu kenyataan hari ini.

Read more

Perlis passes Religious Administration Enactment Bill, Opposition scandalised

Source: NST Online

Perlis legislative assembly approved the Islamic Religion Administration Enactment (Amendment) 2016 Bill by a 13-1 majority  on 9 December 2016. Image taken from FMT News.

Perlis legislative assembly approved the Islamic Religion Administration Enactment (Amendment) 2016 Bill by a 13-1 majority on 9 December 2016. Image taken from FMT News.

KANGAR: Pas assemblyman Mohd Shukri Ramli voiced support yesterday for an amendment to a bill allowing unilateral consent of either a mother or father for the conversion of children under 18 years old to Islam – despite objections from PKR Indera Kayangan assemblyman Chan Ming Kai.

The Sanglang assemblyman had seconded the Islamic Religion Administration Enactment (Amendment) 2016 Bill.

Under the amended enactment, the word “ibu dan bapa” (mother and father) was changed to “ibu atau bapa” (mother or father) in the Malay version.

The English version of the enactment states “parent”, referring to subsection 117(b), which reads that a (child) who is not a Muslim may convert to Islam if he is of sound mind.

Chan stood up to oppose, while MCA’s Khaw Hock Kong was seen leaving the House when the Bill was tabled. Read more