PETALING JAYA: Kidnapping and hiding a child without ensuring the welfare of the child must not be done in the name of Islam, says Datuk Seri Mujahid Yusof Rawa (pic).
The Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, in charge of Islamic religious affairs, says that he will support the police to look for the child.
Mujahid was asked to comment on the disappearance of eleven-year old Prasana, who was taken away from her mother Indira Gandhi by her father K. Padmanathan – who later changed his name to Muhammad Riduan Abdullah when he converted to Islam.
Prasana has remained missing to this day.
Mujahid said that there is a need to look at unilateral conversion laws to avoid the repeat of cases such as Prasana's.
"This is the result of having unilateral conversion laws," said Mujahid.
He was speaking to the media after attending a "Muhibbah Chinese New Year" organised by various Muslim bodies such as the Muslim Chinese Association (Macma), Yayasan Dakwah Islamiah (Yadim), Islamic Development Department (Jakim), Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department (Jawi), Islamic welfare Association of Malaysia (Perkim) and the Hidayah Centre Foundation.
Mujahid pointed out that in Parliament, the Clause 88A (of Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 2017) stated that the child can only be converted with the permission from both parents but that was retracted in 2016.
"What is more interesting is that the courts have decided that underage children cannot be converted and that Jawi had made a mistake when they accepted the conversion. So, it has to do with the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) that should be followed (in underage conversion)," said Mujahid.
Prasana's mother Indira Ghandi, had reported that her youngest daughter was taken away by her ex-husband – when she was just 11 months old.
The Federal Court on April 29, 2016 had ordered the Inspector-General of Police to execute a warrant of arrest for Riduan, who had disobeyed the Ipoh High Court's order to return Prasana to her mother after granting Indira full custody of her children.
On Jan 29 last year, Justice Zainun Ali of the Federal Court said consent of both parents must be sought in cases of religious conversion and the word "parent" in Article 12(4) of the Federal Constitution should not be construed literally.
"It must require the consent of both parents. Custody of the children by the appellant has a dominant influence in their lives.
"Serious interference in their lives would be a very wrong thing," he said.
Former IGP Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar previously refused to carry out that order, claiming there were contradicting orders from the Syariah Court and the civil courts.