Saturday, June 7, 2014

Can Wanita MCA Chairman Datuk Heng Seai Kie explain why the MCA, MIC and Gerakan leaders have been sleeping on their jobs on the issue of unilateral conversion of minors?



Press Statement by M Kula Segaran, DAP National Vice Chairman and MP for Ipoh Barat in Ipoh on Saturday, June 07, 2014


Can Wanita MCA Chairman Datuk Heng Seai Kie explain why the MCA, MIC and Gerakan leaders have been sleeping on their jobs on the issue of unilateral conversion of minors? 

Wanita MCA National Chairman Datuk Heng Seai Kie has today called on the government to amend the laws regarding unilateral conversion of minors.

She said that while the court’s decision to give custody of the child to S Deepa was correct, Article 12(4) must be amended in order to avoid future inconsistencies and possibilities for parents to exploit state religious authorities to gain custody of minors.

What Heng is correct but she needs to answer one question –why has MCA done all this while when the government t did not follow up on the 2009 April Cabinet’s decision banning unilateral conversions of minors?

Similarly, why did the other component BN parties like MIC, Gerakan fail to ensure that the necessary law changes are presented to Parliament?

It has to be noted that MCA, Gerakan were represented in the Cabinet before last year’s general election while MIC leaders have always been in the Cabinet.

Can Heng explain why the MCA, MIC and Gerakan leaders have been sleeping on their jobs?
DAP has always been in the forefront fighting against the unilateral conversion of minors and we welcomed the Cabinet’s decision to ban such conversion in April 2009.

The Cabinet had then decided that children remain in the religion of the parents at the time of marriage, should one of them decide to convert to Islam. It also decided that outstanding issues in a marriage must be settled before conversion to avoid children from becoming the victims.

Five years have passed, yet the Cabinet has failed to introduce the necessary law changes to effectively stop the unilateral conversions. Neither has the government given any indication of when the laws will be amended.

Deepa is not the first and only person to suffer the pain and plight due to the unilateral conversion of minors.

M Indira Gandhi of Ipoh too faced such similar pain and plight when her husband converted to Islam and subsequently converted their three children before claiming custody over them at the Syariah court.

I have raised the issue of inter religious custody battle in Parliament and I wish to remind the government that there must be no further delay in passing legislation to ban conversions to Islam as a means to gain custody of children.

It has to be noted that Indonesia which has the biggest Muslim population in the world has no problems relating to conversion cases. We have much to learn from the Indonesia authorities!

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