New Law Will Take Away Your Children in the Name of Religion

First they took away our economic equal rights. We meekly agreed. Then they insidiously chipped away our religious rights. We weakly complained. Now they want to take away our children by unconstitutional legislation. NOW WE MUST PROTEST VEHEMENTLY!

MCCBCHST Media Statement

The Malaysian Consultative  Council Of Buddhism, Christianity,  Hinduism, Sikhism  and Taoism  (MCCBCHST)  vehemently  objects  to  some  provisions  found  in  the  RANG  UNDANG-UNDANG PENTADBIRAN  AGAMA  ISLAM  (WILAYAH-WILAYAH  PERSEKUTUAN)  2013 tabled  in Parliament  for  its  first  reading  on  26 June  2013  as they  affect  the  Non-Muslims.  The  Bill  under disguise  of lslamic  Laws  is  unilaterally  trying  to  alter the  Federal  Constitution by  translating  the  word “parent”  in  the  Federal  Constitution  to  mean  “lbu  atau Bapa”  as  opposed  to  “lbubapa”.

Any  conversion  of a minor by a single  parent  will cause  serious  injustice  to  the  non-converting parent and  the  children  of  the  marriage – Section  107  (b)  “jika  dia belum  mencapai  umur  lapan belas  tahun,  ibu atau bapa atau penjaganya  mengizinkan  pemelukan agama  lslam  olehnya.” This  provision  would further  creates  social  injustice  and  is  contrary  to  the  constitutional  scheme of things

We hold  the Federal  Cabinet accountable  for  this transgression,  that  is,  in spite  of the  Cabinet decision of 23/4/2009  whereby  it  was  decided  that  a single  parent  cannot  convert  a minor  child  of the  marriage.  Despite  that  public  statement, the  Cabinet  deem  it  fit  to  introduce  the  above  provision in  D.R.  1/2013. lt  appears  that  the  Cabinet  promise  and  undertaking  on this  issue  was not  sincere.

The MCCBCHST  wishes  to  reiterate  that  any  unilateral conversion  of  their  children  by  one  parent encroaches  into  the  lives  of Non-Muslims.  Such  conversions  are not only unconstitutional  but are morally  and ethically  wrong.  We ask  Cabinet  members how  they  will feel  if  their  children are unilaterally  converted. Do  not do  things  to  others,  which you  do not want to  be done  to you.

We must warn  that  if  “Parent”  in  Article  12(4)  is to  be  interpreted  to  mean  “single” parent”,  it will  go  against  the  spirit  and  letter  of Article  4 of  the  Federal  Constitution  –  the  Supreme Law of the  land.  lf  this lnterpretation  is  advanced,  then there  is  nothing  to  stop  the  other  single parent to  convert  back  the  child  to the  Original religion.  No religious  law  can over-ride  the  constitution.  This would  produce  an absurd result and  therefore  this  could  not  be  meaning intended.

Reliance on the  case of SUBASHINI  (2008), may  not  be  in  order  as the  case  appears  to  be wrongly decided  due to  the  following:-

i) The  Court  did  not apply  the  Statutory  Interpretation  clause.  Art.  160(1) (Eleventh Schedule)  under which “words  importing  the  masculine  gender lnclude  female”  and “words  in  the  singular  include  the  plural,  and  words  in  the  plural  include  the singular.
ii) The guardianship of Infants  Act, 1961 which  provides  for  equality  of parental  rights.
iii) lf  single  “parent” can  convert,  then  it  would  lead  to  an  absurd  result,  as  the  non-converting  spouse  can  similarly  by virtue of being  a single  parent convert  back her child to  the  original  faith.

We understand  that  the  Bill  also  provides for  Syariah  High Court to  decide  whether  a person is  a Muslim or not.  See  Section  51(3)(b)  (x)  and (xi).  This power  has  always  been  with  the  Civil  High Court  and  not  the  Syariah  Court.  The  amendment  thus  proposed  is  unconstitutional.

The  MCCBCHST,  therefore  calls  upon the  Cabinet to  withdraw  the  above  Bill,  until  its  provisions have  been  thoroughly debated  by all the  stake holders.  Any bull dozing  through  of the  Bill will not  be accepted and  would  also be  unconstitutional,  giving  no choice to  the  affected persons to  look  for remedy  peacefully  through  other  legal  channels locally  and  internationally.

Note: The date of the Cabinet decision given in the third paragraph was changed from 23/4/2013 to 23/4/2009 based on subsequent clarifications from MCCCHST

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Click on LINK below to download a PDF version of the MCCBCHST Media Statement:

MCCBCHST Media Statement- 28.06.2013

MCCBCHTS Media Statement – 28.06.2013 (amended)

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