Closing the gaps in the law — Joint Action Group for Gender Equality

Source: The Malay Mail Online

AUG 26 — On Hari Wanita, the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) urges the Malaysian government to close the gaps in our domestic laws that obstruct the elimination of violence against women and girls and the achievement of gender equality in our country, which remain yet unrealized goals.

Even after years of civil society expending critical resources in educating and engaging with policymakers, words have not materialised into concrete actions, and women and girls are still regularly subjected to violence and discrimination, with limited recourse in the law. It is time for all MPs to demonstrate their commitment to eliminating the gender gap and bringing about equality in our society by supporting the law reform initiatives that JAG has been lobbying for consistently over the past decade. Read more

PM: Civil court will have precedence in interfaith divorces

Source: The Malay Mail Online

PUTRAJAYA, Aug 25 — The civil courts will have precedence in mediating divorce and child custody cases involving spouses who convert to Islam after marriage, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced today.

He said the government will table a Bill to amend the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 in Parliament in October.

“I believe this is a just move that is in line with what Islam demands of us,” Najib said in his speech at the government’ Women’s Day Celebration here.

MORE TO COME Read more

Child marriages: Teo slams Azizah but praises Nancy

Source: FMT News

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has a moral obligation to fulfil the United Nations resolution on child marriages, insists DAP lawmaker Teo Nie Ching.

In saying this, Teo criticised Deputy Minister of Women, Family and Community Development, Azizah Mohd Dun, for her dismissive stance on the UN resolution to end child, early or forced marriages, which Malaysia adopted at the Human Rights Council in 2013.

“(Azizah Mohd Dun) gave a brush-off by saying the UN resolution ‘is not binding’ when being questioned when the government is going to fulfil our promise to end child marriages during the debate of the bill,” Teo said.

“Even if the resolution is not legally binding, don’t we have a moral obligation to fulfil it? Is adopting the UN resolution to end child marriage merely diplomatic hypocrisy, or does our government really have the political will to honour its words?” Read more

Mothers who had to fight hard for child custody after a divorce

Source: The Star Online

Stories of women who had to fight for the custody of their children after a divorce. Photo: The Star/Azman Ghani

Stories of women who had to fight for the custody of their children after a divorce. Photo: The Star/Azman Ghani

Aida goes up against the legal system

Aida has been trying to get a divorce from her estranged husband for four years. She’d been abused throughout their marriage and to add insult to injury, he’d taken a second wife without her knowledge. Still, she has been unable to obtain a divorce.

“He refuses to talak and the judge is unwilling to step in even though I have multiple police reports documenting the abuse I have experienced. According to my husband, since want a divorce I have to pay for it, literally, until he is ready to talak,” says the teacher who has raised her three children on her own for the past four years.

Aida’s husband has not fulfilled his duties as a husband and father, but he refuses to grant Aida her divorce out of spite, and because he knows the law favours him.

Muslim women face unequal rights when seeking a divorce. Unlike non-muslim women who have equal rights to marriage and divorce as men under the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1967 (LRA), says Aliah Ali, communications officer for Sisters in Islam. Read more

Minister pledges commitment to end interfaith disputes, says doesn’t want Islam misused

Source: The Malay Mail Online

dewan_rakyat_signpost_2015_-_parliament_reportKUALA LUMPUR, March 9 ― As debate reignites over unilateral child conversions and interfaith custody disputes, Muslim minister Nancy Shukri expressed today her personal commitment to carry out law reforms, saying she does not want her religion misused by individuals for their own ends.

The de facto law minister was responding to a DAP MP who pressed the government on its commitment to a 2009 Cabinet decision that affirmed a child would not be unilaterally converted to another religion when one parent does.

“What has become your worry ― seven years, I am also worried, because this has already become my responsibility here to ensure that we solve this problem.

“And this is not just for politics, because I as a Muslim, I also do not want our religion to be toyed with, don’t want people to misuse religion as an excuse to achieve their desires. So this has become our joint responsibility in this House, so if there are good suggestions, we are ready to carry it,” the minister in the Prime Minister’s Department told Parliament during Question Time. Read more

Minister: Unilateral child conversion law drafts ready, waiting for Shariah feedback

Source: The Malay Mail Online

dewan_rakyat_signpost_2015_-_parliament_reportKUALA LUMPUR, March 9 ― The federal government has drafted new laws to address the controversial unilateral religious conversion of children but is waiting for feedback on Shariah issues, de facto law minister Nancy Shukri said today.

The minister in the Prime Minister’s Department added that the wait was because Islamic issues were governed separately by each state, and as such, their respective views needed to be taken into account before reform could proceed at the federal level.

“For the information of this House, a few series of discussions and consultations with the states have already been held by my colleague, the minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Islamic affairs.

“Because for us, in civil, we don’t have much problem; but it has to do with Shariah,” the Batang Sadong MP told Parliament today. Read more

Interfaith custody tribunal not constitutional, says Bar

Source: The Malaysian Insider

M. Indira Gandhi (left) and S. Deepa are the focus of custody battles involving their former husbands who are Muslim converts. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, February 23, 2016.

M. Indira Gandhi (left) and S. Deepa are the focus of custody battles involving their former husbands who are Muslim converts. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, February 23, 2016.

The Malaysian Bar has shot down a proposal to set up a tribunal comprising shariah and civil court judges to resolve interfaith disputes, saying it is unacceptable and counter-productive.

Its president, Steven Thiru, said it had no constitutional basis.

“It will further have the effect of elevating the shariah courts to the level of the civil courts, which is contrary to our constitutional scheme,” he said in a statement. Read more

Federal Court erred in giving custody to Muslim convert, says Bar chief

Source: The Malaysian Insider

Malaysian Bar president Steven Thiru – The Malaysian Insider file pic, February 23, 2016.

Malaysian Bar president Steven Thiru – The Malaysian Insider file pic, February 23, 2016.

The Malaysian Bar has expressed its disappointment with the Federal Court’s decision to grant Muslim convert custody of his son despite being in contempt of a High Court order.

Its president, Steven Thiru, said Izwan Abdullah (or N.Viran) defied the High Court custody order as well as a specific order prohibiting him from removing the children from ex-wife, S. Deepa.

He said Deepa was compelled to obtain a recovery order to direct the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and his officers to regain custody of her son, Mithran (Nabil) from Izwan.

“They did not comply with the recovery order, on the basis that there were conflicting custody orders by the Shariah Court and High Court,” he said in a statement. Read more

Minister: Changes to unilateral conversion laws will make Malaysians ‘very happy’

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 18— Putrajaya’s plans to amend several laws to solve the problem of unilateral conversion of minors will consider the interest of all Malaysians, a minister said today.

Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, who is part of the special ministerial team tasked to look into the matter, said that all Malaysians regardless of their beliefs will be satisfied with the amendments.

“The solution will only be there when Parliament convenes, we will have to make amendments to some of the laws.

“Everyone will be very happy when it happens. The government will take care of the interest of all Malaysians regardless of your beliefs,” the culture and tourism minister said at a news conference here. Read more

Hanya Mahkamah Tinggi boleh beri remedi kepada pasangan selepas tukar agama

Sumber: The Malaysian Insider

A picture of the Kuala Lumpur High Court in this picture dated February 5, 2015. The Federal Court ruled in the S. Deepa v. Izwan Abdullah interfaith custody case that only the High Court can give remedy to spouse even if the partner converted. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, February 15, 2016.

A picture of the Kuala Lumpur High Court in this picture dated February 5, 2015. The Federal Court ruled in the S. Deepa v. Izwan Abdullah interfaith custody case that only the High Court can give remedy to spouse even if the partner converted. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, February 15, 2016.

Pindaan 1988 kepada Mahkamah Persekutuan untuk menghentikan mahkamah sivil daripada campur tangan dalam hal ehwal Mahkamah Syariah tidak termasuk Mahkamah Tinggi daripada memberikan remedi kepada individu jika pasangannya menukar agama kepada Islam, kata Mahkamah Persekutuan menerusi penghakimannya minggu lalu dalam perbalahan hak penjagaan anak berbeza agama.

Hakim Tan Sri Raus Sharif berkata, dalam kes itu, bekas suami (Izwan Abdullah) dan bekas isteri (S Deepa) beragama Hindu ketika berkahwin.

“Dengan mengenakan perkahwinan sivil di bawah Akta Memperharui Undang-undang (LRA) 1976, mereka terikat dengan peruntukan berkaitan perceraian dan hak jagaan anak daripada perkahwinan itu. Read more