KOTA KINABALU: Sabah leaders want answers on the alleged conversion of a Christian student to Islam at a residential school in Kinarut some 24km from here.
Deputy Speaker Datuk Johnny Mositun, who is Parti Bersatu Sabah secretary-general, said he was surprised to learn such a thing could happen to a child below the age of 18.
"From what we heard, the person who 'converted' this 16-year-old girl was a warden at the school hostel. How can a warden convert someone?" he said.
It was reported that the girl's father found out about the conversion when he took her home for the weekend and found that she was wearing a tudung (headscarf). He discovered that the girl had been converted to Islam earlier in the week.
Mositun said there were many uncertainties in the case and urged authorities, including the police, to carry out an investigation as to how a minor could be converted without her parents' knowledge or consent.
"We are not against the freedom of religion, but if one chooses to embrace another faith let it be done according to the law," he said.
Upko's Religion and Racial Harmony Bureau joint chairman Sualim Gopog said the authorities need to look at regulations which are not in line with the Federal Constitution.
"We have been repeatedly told that Muslim authorities go about propagating their faith in accordance with their standard operating procedures, but time and again we have parents who complained that their children had suddenly became Muslims.
"I urge the authorities to ensure that such things do not recur," he said adding that the girl's parents and the public deserve an explanation of what really transpired.