MCA today questioned the federal government’s opposition to laws banning unilateral conversion of minors, saying the Federal Constitution has clearly ensured the rights of all Malaysians including non-Muslims.
The party’s central committee member and religious harmony head, Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker, was responding to a parliamentary reply by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom, who said “legislation that bans unilateral conversion contradicts Article 12 (4), which allows the father or mother to decide the child’s faith.”
But Ti said Article 12 (4) on determining the minor’s religion had stated “ibubapa”, which indicated plural, and not “ibu atau bapa” (mother or father).
“It is urgent to find out how along the way, over the years, in a matter that is so crucial, how ‘ibu-bapa’ in plural form and requirement, was mysteriously and clandestinely reprinted, reinterpreted to be ‘ibu atau bapa’ or singular without any lawmaker’s and the Senate’s notice.
“Was it a slight-of-hand deliberate amendment by overzealous Little Napoleons out to expand the Muslim population?” asked Ti in a statement today.
He said Muslim converts had used this ‘reinterpretation’ to convert their minor children without informing their non-Muslim spouses.
The Section 2(95) of Article 160(1) of the Eleventh Schedule of the Federal Constitution also reads that “words in the singular include the plural, and words in the plural include the singular.
“The learned Dr Jamil should also know that the Federal Constitution was constructed with the intention of protecting the rights of all races and religions, including minorities. Hence it is important for the Executive as well as all citizens to uphold the spirit of the Federal Constitution,” he added.