KUALA LUMPUR: Following hours of heated debate, the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) (Amendment) Bill 2017 (LRA) was finally passed by Parliament at 12.45am on Thursday.
Among the amendments was Section 51, which allows either spouse in cases where one party has converted to Islam, to have the marriage dissolved in civil courts.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said the Bill was the first step towards resolving issues surrounding dissolution of marriages where one party converts.
During the debate, Opposition lawmakers led by M. Kulasegaran (DAP–Ipoh Barat) had called for the reinstatement of clause 88A into the Bill, Section 88A, which had addressed issues concerning unilateral conversion of children.
Azalina explained that Clause 88A would not solve the issue of unilateral conversion and said that more in-depth discussion was needed to find a more comprehensive solution.
Parliament "stopped the clock" at 11.45pm Wednesday to allow the Bill to be further debated before it was ultimately passed.
Following the second reading of the Bill, PAS lawmakers tried to veto the Bill by calling for a block vote.
However, they lacked the quorum requirement of 15 lawmakers for the House to record a vote.
Azalina on Monday said that the Government had withdrawn an earlier version of the Bill to remove the proposed new Section 88A.
She said that this was done so that the Bill would not be in conflict with provisions under the Federal Constitution.