Interfaith Council urges Selangor government to withdraw unilateral conversion bill


PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) has called on the Selangor state government to withdraw the unilateral conversion Bill.

In a statement, MCCBCHST said that it was disappointing that no consultation was held with the relevant stakeholders.

“The MCCBCHST was not engaged and we believe that neither were any other relevant stakeholders, especially children's or women’s groups, " said the council on Friday (Aug 9).

“We note with grave concern on the attempt by the Selangor Mentri Besar to table a Bill, which would allow unilateral conversion of minors to Islam if passed, ” it added.

It added that this distress was apparent in several past cases, citing the 2018 Federal Court ruling in favour of M. Indira Gandhi.

The council said that the decision was “sensible, constitutionally correct and the best way forward” that both parents must agree on such an important issue.

In January 2018, the Federal Court nullified the unilateral conversion of Indira Gandhi’s three children to Islam by her ex-husband.

“If they (the parents) cannot agree, it is best that they wait until the child attains the age of 18 when he or she can make their own decision, ” the council added.

The statement was signed by council president Archbishop Julian Leow Beng Kim, deputy president Sardar Jagir Singh and vice-presidents R.S. Mohan Shanmugam, Tan Hoe Chieow and Ven Sing Kan.

It was reported that Amirudin had planned to push through a state Bill to allow unilateral conversion of minors.

Currently, the consent of both parents are needed in matters concerning the conversion of a minor in Selangor, but once the amendments are made, consent will be required from only one parent.

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Source: The Star

Desi Hanara