PETALING JAYA: It is wrong to kidnap, hide or deny a child his or her welfare in the name of Islam, says Datuk Seri Mujahid Yusof.
The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, who is in charge of Islamic affairs, said he would support efforts by the police to look for 11-year-old Prasana Diksa, who was taken away from her mother M. Indira Gandhi in 2009 by her father K. Padmanathan.
He later changed his name to Muhammad Riduan Abdullah when he converted to Islam.
Prasana remains missing until now.
“This (conversion of Prasana) is the result of having unilateral conversion laws,” Mujahid said.
He was speaking at a press conference after attending a “Muhibbah Chinese New Year” organised by Muslim Chinese Association, Yayasan Dakwah Islamiah, Islamic Development Department, Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department (Jawi), Islamic Welfare Association of Malaysia and the Hidayah Centre Foundation here yester-day.
Mujahid pointed out that in 2016, Clause 88A was retracted from the Bill of the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 2017 before it was passed.
Clause 88A states that the religion of the child “shall remain as the religion of the parties to the marriage prior to the conversion” and that the child can, after turning 18 and with the consent of both parents, convert to Islam.
“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 that should be followed (in underage conversion),” said Mujahid.
Prasana was allegedly taken away from her mother by her father when she was just 11 months old.
The Federal Court on April 29, 2016, ordered the Inspector-General of Police to execute a warrant of arrest for Riduan, who 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.
On Saturday, a group called Indira Gandhi Action Team is offering the public a RM10,000 reward to track down Prasana and Riduan.