PETALING JAYA: Laws, including on unilateral conversion of minors, must demonstrate that it is compassionate and peaceful to all parties, including those from different faith, said Sisters in Islam.
The group called on the Government to promote such values not only in terms of relationship with the people but also in practices of law and the treatment of those from the other faith.
“Justice is paramount in the teachings of Islam. The objectives of the law should be to do justice and the rights of the people including ensuring that those from the other faith are not marginalised and discriminated against in the name of Islam,” it said in a statement yesterday.
The Star reported yesterday that moderate Malaysians from various backgrounds had made a stand against the unilateral conversion of children, urging that they be allowed to hold on to their original faith until they can decide for themselves at age 18.
They were responding to a parliamentary reply by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom who said that any proposed law to ban unilateral conversions in Malaysia would contravene the Federal Constitution.
Sisters in Islam also urged the Government to clarify whether Jamil’s statement was reflective of the Cabinet committee tasked to look at unilateral conversion of minors, as it was contradictory with the prior messages conveyed by Putrajaya.
Universiti Malaya law professor Dr Azmi Shahrom said Article 12(4) of the Federal Constitution must be read with Article 160 and the Eleventh Schedule of the Federal Constitution.
“Article 160 and the Eleventh Schedule govern the interpretation of the Federal Constitution,” he added.
“The Eleventh Schedule states that ‘words in the singular include the plural, and words in the plural include the singular’.
“It shows that Article 12(4), read with Article 160 and the Eleventh Schedule of the Federal Constitution, would mean that the word ‘parent’ in the singular would also mean ‘parents’ in the plural,” Dr Azmi said.
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