PETALING JAYA: A child’s religion should remain status quo in any dispute until he or she reaches the legal age of 18, said MCA Political Education Bureau head Gan Ping Sieu.
“The unilateral conversion of the religion of a child is clearly not in the interest of the child and a mockery to any system of justice,” he said in a statement in connection with the Negri Sembilan Islamic Affairs Department’s decision to allow the conversion of 15-month-old Hoo Joey.
The Syariah Court has given interim custody of Hoo Joey to the mother Chew Yin No, who has adopted the name Siti Zubaidah Chew Abdullah, without the consent of the father Hoo Ying Soon.
Gan expressed regret that the Syariah legal process had been taken advantage of to the detriment of the spouse and his family members.
“The child in question was born pursuant to a civil marriage under the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976.
“Therefore the custody of the child must be determined by the civil courts,” he said.
Gan said a Syariah Court order does not bind non-Muslims as the Federal Court has ruled that it (Syariah Court) holds no jurisdiction on non-Muslims.
“The exclusive jurisdication of Syariah Courts over Muslim family matters does not mean that the Federal Constitution and its federal laws are subservient to Syariah laws,” he said.