Sad day for religious minorities, interfaith council rep says after conversion ruling

Source: The Malay Mail Online

M. Indira Gandhi is pictured at the Court of Appeal, Putrajaya, December 30, 2015. ― Picture by Saw Siow Feng

M. Indira Gandhi is pictured at the Court of Appeal, Putrajaya, December 30, 2015. ― Picture by Saw Siow Feng

PUTRAJAYA, Dec 30 — The appellate court’s ruling today on unilateral conversions in M Indira Gandhi’s case is a major setback for the country’s religious minorities, a representative of the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) said.

Lawyer Philip Koh, who was holding a watching brief for the council, said the decision meant that the spouse in a civil law marriage could unilaterally convert a child without the permission or knowledge of his estranged partner.

“This is a sad day for minority faith communities,” he told reporters after the appellate court delivered its ruling.

Koh said, however, that it was heartening that at least one judge in the three-man panel had disagreed with the unilateral conversions of Indira’s three children by her ex-husband.

The lawyer also expressed disappointment that although non-Muslims are often assured that their rights under the Federal Constitution would be protected, this was more dependant on how jurisprudence is applied by judges.

“It appears now… that this very protection is rendered meaningless, so that a mother of a child can have her baby being taken away and she’s not given access to the child for seven years,” he added, referring to Indira’s case.

In a 2-1 decision today, the three-judge panel at the Court of Appeal headed by Datuk Balia Yusof Wahi overturned an Ipoh High Court’s previous ruling that declared unilateral conversions unconstitutional. Read more

NSC Bill about power, not security, interfaith group says

Source: The Malay Mail Online

The NSC Bill is currently awaiting approval by the Dewan Negara. — MMO file pic

The NSC Bill is currently awaiting approval by the Dewan Negara. — MMO file pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 17 — The absence of a tangible security policy to accompany the National Security Council Bill 2015 belies the government’s insistence that the proposed law was meant to safeguard the country’s safety, said an interfaith group today.

The Malaysian Consultative Council on Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) pointed out that despite national security being the main thrust of the Bill, the proposed law does not attempt to communicate how the powers will be used to safeguard the country’s safety.

The umbrella body for the country’s non-Muslim religions also echoed concerns by other critics who said the Bill would usurp authority of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to declare a state of emergency and transfer this to the National Security Council headed by the prime minister.

“A further objection to the NSC Bill is that it has over-focussed on empowering the prime minister and the drafters of the Bill appear to have completely forgotten to require the NSC to produce a National Security Policy.

“It is understood that the Malaysian government has not produced any document on National Security Policy until today,” the group said in a statement. Read more

Death camps are a ‘blight on the soul of the nation’ – MCCBCHST

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Forensic investigators document graves of human-trafficking victims near the Thai-Malaysian border in Perlis. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Hasnoor Hussain, May 27, 2015.

Forensic investigators document graves of human-trafficking victims near the Thai-Malaysian border in Perlis. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Hasnoor Hussain, May 27, 2015.

JUNE 2 — The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) is deeply saddened by the discovery of mass graves of migrants at the Malaysian/Thai border in Perlis. We are distressed to read reports that they were victims of abuse and torture at the hands of human traffickers and that several members of our police force may have been complicit.

The exploitation, torture and killing of our fellow human beings at these “death camps” on Malaysian soil are a blight of our nation and humanity. These victims deserve more than the indignity of un-mourned deaths and unmarked graves and their souls call for our prayers and for justice.

As such the MCCBCHST calls on Malaysians of all faiths to hold prayer sessions for the solace and rest of the victims and to ask for those responsible for these “death camps” to be brought to justice.

We call upon regional and national leaders to legislate and enforce sustainable humane solutions to the long-standing challenge of refugees, migrants and stateless people being exploited and abused by human traffickers across our borders. Read more