Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Interfaith custody battles: The government is abdicating its responsibility to find a long term and harmonious settlement

Press statement by M Kula Segaran, DAP National Vice Chairman and MP for Ipoh Barat in Ipoh on July 9, 2014
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Interfaith custody battles: The government is abdicating its responsibility to find a long term and harmonious settlement

On June 11th, the Prime Minister stated that that the on-going interfaith custody battles be best settled by the Federal Court. He opined that the issue had attracted a lot of concern from the public.
This statement of the Prime Minister is a deviation from the promises made in 2009 when the government announced that necessary law changes would be tabled in Parliament to address the present short comings in interfaith conversion matters.

So many years have passed after the promise was made yet nothing has happened. This shows that the government lacks the political will and the grit to bring the necessary law changes to settle the thorny issues of interfaith matters.

The Attorney General issued a media statement on 26th June 2014 stating that his office will file papers to intervene in the on-going interfaith custody cases at the appeal stage.

In the meantime, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) declined to enforce the court order to arrest the fugitive convert Ridzuan. Thus a court proceeding has been filed to haul up the IGP to eventually cite him for contempt which is fixed for hearing at the Ipoh High Court on 21st July 2014.

Now our lawyers have been served papers by the AG’s office to intervene at the Court of Appeal. The matter is fixed for Hearing in Putra Jaya on 24th July 2014 .The grounds are:
1. This appeal involves questions of public interest as to which court shall have the jurisdiction of a minor when one spouse converts to Muslim.
2.This appeal also involves religious sensitivity and is  potential to disrupt the public safety.
3. The Orders by the High court and Syariah courts has given rise to constitutional crisis in regards to Article 121A of the Federal constitution.
4. It also involves the question whether the civil courts has the right of judicial review against the findings/decision made by the syariah courts.
5.Further the it also involves the interpretation of s.52 dan 53 of the child act.

We are hoping both the above cases can proceed without delay.

Although the AG or anyone else has all the right to intervene, but the question that must be answered is why now when the case has been in and out of court for since 2009?


Is the Government painting a picture that it is concerned about interfaith custody issue and thus it is getting involved? I view the intervening as just a way to defuse the real issue namely the need for a permanent settlement in interfaith matters.

The Court is now forced to discharge and adjudicate intricate interfaith matters where the laws are so unclear. Clearly the government is abdicating its responsibility to find a long term and harmonious settlement.

We the lawyers for Indira Gandhi are now shocked by the convert husband’s claim that he can’t afford to pay for his lawyers and is appealing for public donations. Indira has told us that Ridzuan has been unemployed most of the time during their marriage but has frequented to Thailand to enjoy there.

More shocking to her was Ridzuan’s claim that two other siblings want to be with the father. This according to Indira is far from the truth.

In fact, he has not been providing any monies for the wellbeing of the two children and has not seen or visited them since 2009. The best he can do for the family will be to return the youngest child Prasana Diksa to the family in Ipoh and apologize to all for the anxiety and suffering he has been instrumental of. See more at:  http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/muslim-convert-seeks-funds-to-win-back-unhappy-kids-from-hindu-mum#sthash.UOwwkuMo.WoErt6gT.dpuf

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