Thursday, March 10, 2016

Continued delay on legislative changes to ban unilateral conversion of minors is cause for worry

Media Statement by M. Kula Segaran, MP for Ipoh Barat and DAP National Vice Chairman in Kuala Lumpur on 10th March 2016
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Continued delay on legislative changes to ban unilateral conversion of minors is cause for worry
Yesterday, while answering a parliament question on law reforms to ban unilateral conversion of minors posed by DAP MP for Batu Kawan, Kasturi Patto , the de facto law minister Nancy Sukri said the government's draft for law reforms is already “ready”, but said the minister in charge of Islamic affairs is still collecting feedback on the proposed legal changes.

Nancy Shukri also expressed her personal commitment to carry out law reforms, saying she does not want her religion misused by individuals for their own ends.
However, her answer is most disappointing and is in fact a big cause of worry. Her answer may just mean that there will be further delay with probably no solution and concrete action like what has happened over the last 7 years.

Since the Cabinet made the decision to ban the unilateral conversion of minors in 2009, more than one committee was set up to study the necessary law changes required to put into real effect the Cabinet’s decision.

But till today, despite the high profile cases of the Indira Gandhi and Deepa and the trauma, pain that they have had to go through and the extreme justice that they have had to suffer, the government has shown its lack of political will in putting real effect the 2009 Cabinet decision.

It is incomprehensible and unacceptable that such an issue which is like a time bomb that can affect religious harmony is not resolved with the urgency that it deserves.
Last February, Negeri Sembilan Mentri Besar Datuk Mohamad Hassanhas said that the state would implement the” divorce first, then convert” ruling so as to prevent legal tussled and to protect sanctity of Islam.

But the heartless Federal government did not respond to or follow the Negeri Sembilan’s move.

The government must not delay any more and must give a firm date as to when the necessary law reforms will be presented to Parliament.

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