Unilateral conversion: S’gor MB told to explain reason for promoting amendment

13 Aug 2019 / 11:40 H.

PETALING JAYA: Selangor Mentri Besar Amirudin Shari must explain why he wants to promote a proposed amendment to allow the unilateral conversion of minors in the state, PKR said yesterday.

The party’s communications director Fahmi Fadzil (pix) said Amirudun should appear before the party’s political bureau to explain his position.

“The party’s political bureau meeting is the perfect place for him to explain himself,” Fahmi told theSun echoing the view of the party’s vice-president Zuraida Kamaruddin.

Zuraida, who is also housing and local government minister, had said Amirudin must explain why he attempted to push through an amendment to a state enactment to change the wording regarding the conversion of minors.

She said the party’s stand is to abide by the Federal Constitution on this matter.

The mentri besar had confirmed he wanted to table the amendment during the previous state assembly meeting but decided to leave the matter to Speaker Ng Suee Lim, who did not introduce the amendment.

Amirudin had also stated that he still intends to table the controversial bill in the coming state sitting “if there is a need to do so”.

The amendment to a state Islamic enactment on the religious conversion of minors seeks to alter the current requirement for both parents’ consent to that of either parent.

The Federal Court last year made a landmark ruling that the consent of both parents is needed for the conversion of minors. It upheld that the word “parent” in the constitution constitutes both the parents of a child in the M. Indira Gandhi custody case after her Hindu husband became a Muslim and unilaterally converted their children.

The subject of unilateral conversions arose from the Bahasa Melayu translation of the Federal Constitution that interpreted the word “parent” as “ibu atau bapa” (mother or father) but the constitution contains guidance that singular forms also represented the plural and vice versa.

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