Intervene in Perlis' unilateral conversion move, DAP rep urges PM
A DAP federal lawmaker wants Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to intervene in the passing of the amendment to the Administration of the Religion of Islam Enactment by the Perlis state legislative assembly, which allows unilateral conversion of children under 18 to Islam.
Ipoh Barat MP M Kulasegaran, who is also a lawyer, said his view is that the state enactment is contrary to the Federal Constitution and thus a legal challenge can be mounted in court.
“I urge the PM to intervene to stall the bill (enactment) and (look) to repeal it urgently,” Kulasegaran said
"Or maybe the PM can speak to the Perlis MB not to present the amendment for the Raja Perlis to assent," he added, and went on to question why MCA, MIC, Gerakan and other BN component parties did not block this at the first instance.
“For a start, were they consulted? If not, why not?” he said in an email from Senegal.
Kulasegaran, who is attending a conference in the country on the west coast of Africa, said as Umno had gone ahead with the tabling of the bill, it only showed that Umno had failed to treat its other coalition partners on equal footing.
He said the move by the MCA representative to walk out (and not vote against the bill) does not settle the issue.
“He should have spoken out and voted against this bill. I suspect this has been done to further strengthen their (Umno's) relationship with PAS.
MCA's sole representative in the Perlis state assembly, Titi Tinggi assemblyperson Khaw Hock Kong, did not vote while PKR's Indera Kayangan assemblyperson Chan Ming Khai voted against the amendment.
Wait for grey areas to be ironed out
Kulasegaran further questioned why the Perlis amendment was carried out despite Parliament moving last month to amend the federal Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act (LRA).
“The Parliament's first reading of the LRA amendment bill should settle all these grey areas.
The DAP MP said he had previously spoken to the MCA and MIC presidents to fast track the LRA amendment bill in Parliament in the last session.
“They felt it was not necessary. Now, we see Perlis is trying to derail it,” Kulasegaran said.The amendment to Section 117 of the Perlis Islamic enactment sees a change with the phrase in the Malay version, originally reading “father and mother or guardian”, to become “father or mother or guardian”, thereby giving consent for children below 18 years to be converted to Islam unilaterally.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Azalina Othman Said said that the cabinet had agreed to amend Article 12 (4) of the Federal Constitution to have a clearer meaning of the word 'parent'.
Meanwhile, Persatuan Hindraf Malaysia chairperson P Waythamoorthy was reported to have urged all non-Muslims to join forces to get a court declaration that the Perlis enactment is ultra vires the Federal Constitution.
"We offer our services pro bono. We are ready to undertake this task on behalf of the people. We will help protect the rights of 15 million non-Muslims in the country," Waythamoorthy is quoted as saying today by Free Malaysia Today.