Sunday, January 10, 2016

Cabinet study on religious conversion case only going in circles, says DAP lawmaker


Published: 10 January 2016

DAP's M. Kula Segaran says the Cabinet study on M. Indira Gandhi's case will come to nothing. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, January 10, 2016.Putrajaya's decision to assign three ministers to study the implications of the Court of Appeal judgment, which upheld the unilateral conversion of kindergarten teacher M. Indira Gandhi's children, will come to nothing, says DAP's M. Kula Segaran.

"It will just go around in circles.

"In 2009, the same ministers were in the special Cabinet committee looking into the child conversion issue, what has come of that?

Another committee was set up again shortly after the 2013 general election but both were ineffective and the leadership was toothless," said the Ipoh Barat MP.

It was reported yesterday that Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam and Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom would meet with Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali to discuss the case.

Subramaniam, now MIC president, and Jamil Khir, in charge of Department of Religious Affairs, were part of the 2009 committee led by then Minister in the Prime Minister's Department for National Unity and Key Performance Index, Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon.

In 2009, then de-facto law minister, Nazri, had announced the Cabinet decision that a child must be raised in the faith professed by both parents at the time of marriage.

However, in 2013, Nazri said the Conference of Rulers had objected to the implementation of the 2009 decision.

Kula Segaran said the crux of the matter lies in a 1988 amendment of Section 121 of the Federal Constitution, which separated Malaysia's dual law system and would not permit civil courts to interfere with matters within the jurisdiction of the Shariah courts.

"It has been misinterpreted to mean civil courts cannot question unconstitutional Shariah Court orders.

"However, civil courts have judicial review powers which the Shariah courts do not.

"Shariah rulings are not binding on non-Muslims, so where else can they turn to if not the civil courts?"

He added that the three-men bench led by Datuk Balia Yusof Wahi did not dispute that Indira's children were minors at the time of conversion, which did not comply with requirements under the Administration of the Religion of Islam (Perak) Enactment 2004.

Section 96 of the enactment requires an individual to understand the Muslim affirmation of faith that is uttered in Arabic, on their own free will and Section 106 states that a person of sound mind may convert to Islam if aged 18 and those younger have to obtain written consent from a guardian or parent.

Indira's converted ex-spouse, Muhammad Riduan Abdullah, whose Hindu name was K. Pathmanathan, obtained a custody order from the Shariah Court and conversion certificates from the pendaftar “muallaf” (registrar of Muslim converts) for Tevi Darsiny, Karan Dinish and Prasana Diksa, without their presence or the knowledge of Indira.

Kula Segaran said the court ruling on the case had severe and dangerous implications that could threaten the country's unity and the world would now be wondering of the country's stand on moderate Islam.

"The prime minister at any time can call for the setting up of an all-party parliamentary committee as I have suggested but it takes sincere political will to right what is wrong." – January 10, 2016.

No comments:

Post a Comment