PETALING JAYA: Gerakan has condemned the government’s decision not to amend the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act (LRA) to deal with unilateral conversion of minors.
“Why is it that Pakatan Harapan has the courage to table a Bill seeking to amend the Federal Constitution on the lowering of voters age to 18 but not on unilateral child conversion?” party president Datuk Dr Dominic Lau asked in a statement.
He said Pakatan, especially DAP, would only seek to amend the Constitution on issues which served its own purpose.
“What is Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh doing in Cabinet?
“Previously, she said she will be the voice of children in Parliament. How will she feel if her own children are subjected to such treatment?” he asked.
Lau said that all this while Gerakan had fought against unilateral child conversion.
However, he said the government’s decision was a betrayal to the voters.
“DAP should be ashamed of themselves and quit the government,” he said.
On Thursday, Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said there were no plans to reintroduce Clause 88A to amend the LRA to deal with unilateral conversion of minors.
He said the Federal Court had decided against several unilateral conversions last year, adding that the decision would bind the lower courts.
On Nov 21, 2016, Parliament tabled a Bill to amend the LRA with the insertion of Clause 88A but withdrew it on Aug 7, 2017 after strong objections.
Parliament passed the Bill on Aug 10, 2017 without the clause.
Among the amendments to the LRA was Section 51, which allows either spouse in cases where one party has converted to Islam to have the marriage dissolved in civil courts.
The amendments also dealt with the issue of alimony, child custody and property division in the event where a spouse had converted to Islam.
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.