Karpal: Federal Court ruling grammatically wrongA 2007 Federal Court ruling allowing for unilateral conversion of a child to Islam was “grammatically wrong”, DAP national chairperson Karpal Singh said today.
Karpal, who is also a lawyer, said that the court’s ruling was a wrong interpretation of the word 'parent' under Article 12 (4) of the federal constitution.
He urged the Parliament to “depart” from the Federal Court decision and not be tied down by the ruling because the judiciary “is but an arm of the government”.
The Federal Court decision on Dec 27 2007 ruled that a single parent was enough to convert a child to Islam based on the word 'parent' that appeared in the federal constitution.
The court ruled in favour of a Hindu father who had converted his underage child to Islam, holding in essence that the constitution rendered the consent of a single parent enough to validate the conversion of a minor to Islam.
However, Karpal said that the word 'parent', in its essence, should refer to both the mother and father and should not refer to one parent alone.
"Parent should mean both the mother and father," he said during a press conference at Parliament lobby today.
He stressed that there was no need to add a 's' at the back of the word 'parent' in order to make it plural, that the current provision of the the word 'parent' was written with the intention of referring to both parents.
"There is no need. The current provision is right. The interpretation by the Federal Court is wrong," he said.
He said that grammatically, the word parent should mean both parents "if they are alive".
"Any other interpretation would lead to a manifestation of injustice," he said.
"Islam should be not allowed to be used in the perpetration of injustice," he added.
'Amend constitution to end confusion over conversion'