Be transparent about motives of unilateral conversion Bill, SIS tells state leaders

  • Nation
  • Friday, 09 Aug 2019

PETALING JAYA: Sisters in Islam (SIS) is demanding all parties be transparent about motives behind discussions with regards to the controversial bill allowing for the unilateral religious conversion of minor children with the consent of just one parent in Selangor.

“We demand to know who proposed this bill, as well as the reason behind it, given that a landmark ruling has already been made at the Federal Court in January last year.

“It is important that the intentions of the bill are made clear to the public, in order to prevent the manipulation of our country’s plural legal system and exploitation of Islam for political purposes, ” said SIS in a strongly-worded statement issued on Friday (Aug 9).

In a landmark decision in 2018, the Federal Court unanimously declared that the unilateral conversion of kindergarten teacher Indira Gandhi's three children was null and void.

On Thursday (Aug 8), four non-Muslim state executive councillors - Datuk Teng Chang Kim, V. Ganabatirau, Ng Sze Han and Hee Loy Sian - had an audience with Selangor Ruler Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah at Istana Bukit Kayangan, where it is believed the unilateral conversion bill was among the subjects discussed.

SIS said that secret meetings and closed-door discussions were unbecoming, as the government’s ambition is to hold democracy, transparency and integrity with the highest regard.

“We are concerned and disappointed that public engagements are not being held, as this decision will not only have devastating effects on the family institution, but also negatively affect the lives of thousands of children in Selangor.”

It was reported that Selangor Mentri Besar Amirudin Shari had planned to push through a state bill to allow the unilateral conversion of minors.

Currently, the consent of both parents are needed in matters concerning the conversion of a minor child in Selangor, but once the amendments are made, consent will be required from only one parent.

Selangor DAP had said on Thursday (Aug 8) that it will not support the Bill, as any attempt to introduce laws that permit the unilateral religious conversion of minors would be unconstitutional and contrary to the Federal Constitution.

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