IPOH: Kindergarten teacher M. Indira Gandhi says she is let down by the government’s decision not to amend the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act (LRA) to deal with unilateral conversion of minors.
Saying Pakatan Harapan had failed to keep to its pledge, she called for the decision to be reviewed.
“I am disappointed. I have been let down by the previous administration and had hoped that Pakatan would carry out what it promised to do,” she said.
“I seriously hope they will reconsider as it would save people, especially non-Muslims in similar situation as me, a lot of hassle.”
Indira Gandhi, who was caught in a child legal custody battle with her former husband lasting about 10 years, said not everyone was as lucky as her.
“People have often been told to get a remedy from the courts but not everyone gets justice. I am considered lucky.
“If this is guaranteed by the law, people need not spend huge amounts to cope with a long court battle,” she said.
The Federal Court had in January last year nullified the unilateral conversion of Indira Gandhi’s three children to Islam.
On Thursday, Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was reported to have said that there were no plans to reintroduce Clause 88A into the LRA.
The clause states that the religion of a 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.
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.
The Bill was then passed on Aug 10, 2017, but without the clause.
The amendments to the LRA included Section 51, which allows either spouse in cases where one party converted to Islam to have the marriage dissolved in the 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.
On whether were there updates from the police or government on the whereabouts of her still missing daughter Prasana Diksa, Indira Gandhi said there were no fresh developments.
“I’m still trying to engage with the IGP and the minister in charge of law and hope something will come out of it,” she said.
“I went to Parliament last week hoping to meet Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. I’ll let the media know if there is any update.”
Govt’s decision a big let-down, say lawyers
Groups welcome govt’s decision on Clause 88A