We want to see draft of amend­ments: Coun­cil

The Sun (Malaysia) - - NEWS WITHOUT BORDERS -

amend­ments to the law should in­clude pro­vi­sions that would make it com­pul­sory for a con­vert­ing spouse to in­form the other spouse within seven days of such con­ver­sions.

“This will pro­hibit se­cret con­ver­sions. There must be an obli­ga­tion placed on the con­vert­ing spouse,” its vi­cepres­i­dent Ja­gir Singh said.

The coun­cil said when one party in a civil mar­riage con­verts to Is­lam, amend­ments should give the civil courts “ex­clu­sive ju­ris­dic­tion” on the mar­riage not­with­stand­ing the con­ver­sion.

It also called for the amend­ment to Ar­ti­cle 12(4) of the Fed­eral Con­sti­tu­tion where the word “par­ent” be amended to “par­ents” and that both par­ties be al­lowed to file a di­vorce pe­ti­tion when ei­ther one con­verts to Is­lam.

The coun­cil’s sec­re­tary­gen­eral Pre­mati­laka Serisena said the gov­ern­ment should en­gage stake­hold­ers and take into con­sid­er­a­tion their in­put on the amend­ments.

“When you are go­ing to amend the Law Re­form Act, which in­volves the whole fab­ric of the na­tion, you need to present the pro­posed law and dis­cuss it with stake­hold­ers.”

Pre­mati­laka said the gov­ern­ment can­not say that MCCBHCST has agreed to the amend­ments when it has never seen the sub­stan­tive con­tent of the pro­posed bill.

“We need to see what are the ef­fects and im­pacts.

“Let our le­gal team and the lead­ers of var­i­ous faiths scru­ti­nise the bill. It has to be an eq­ui­table sit­u­a­tion, you can­not hide it and say we have agreed.”

Pre­mati­laka also said the gov­ern­ment should cor­rect the “ad­min­is­tra­tive er­ror” in the pub­li­ca­tion of the Fed­eral Con­sti­tu­tion and re­store the orig­i­nal in­ter­pre­ta­tion of “par­ent” to “ibubapa” and not “ibu atau bapa”, which has in­di­cated that ei­ther a mother or a fa­ther could de­cide on their chil­dren’s faith lead­ing to uni­lat­eral con­ver­sions.

The coun­cil was re­spond­ing to Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Ab­dul Razak’s an­nounce­ment on Aug 25 that the gov­ern­ment planned to amend the Act.

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