MCA has welcomed the government’s decision to amend the Law Reform (Marriages and Divorce) Act 1976 (LRA), saying the changes would benefit Islam and avoid its exploitation by new Muslim converts for personal interests.
“With legislative amendments made to prevent Islam being exploited by irresponsible parent, new converts will have to think twice before exploiting the law to run off to religious departments to convert the minor children without the knowledge or approval of their spouse,” said the party’s Religious Harmony Bureau chairman, Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker.
Putrajaya announced this week that the proposed reforms to the act would ensure that all divorce cases involving couples married under civil law were heard in civil courts, even if one of them converts to Islam after the marriage.
This followed custody battles of children involving non-Muslim mothers and their Muslim convert husbands.
In one such case, Hindu mother M. Indira Gandhi and her Muslim convert ex-spouse, Muhammad Riduan Abdullah, have been battling for custody of their youngest child, Prasana Diksa, with both getting different judgments from civil and Shariah courts.
MCA said the changes in LRA would strengthen the image of Islam as a religion that uphold justice and fairness to all.
However, Ti hoped that religious officials would observe the spirit of the amendments even before they become law, by not issuing certificate of conversion for underaged children if one of their parents object.
“Thumbs up for the victory of the aspirations of 1Malaysia where inclusive policies seek to protect the religious rights of all above all,” he added.