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Conversion Bill tabled ( Unilateral Conversion of underage Child ) - Amendments

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asked on Nov 22, 2016 at 14:05
by   jeff005
edited on Nov 22, 2016 at 14:06
by   jeff005
Finally some actions from the Lawmakers.

Ref: 

http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2016/11/22/changes-to-act-tabled/
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answered on Nov 22, 2016 at 14:09
by   jeff005
The Star reported :-

KUALA LUMPUR: Any spouse from a civil marriage who becomes a Muslim will no longer be allowed to unilaterally convert the children to Islam, under amendments to the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act.
A new section will be introduced to make it clear that the children’s faith will remain that of the religion of both parents prior to the conversion.
Any conversion to Islam of children below age 18 will be allowed only if both parents agree to it. Otherwise, the children decide their own faith once they turn 18.
The amendments were tabled for first reading at the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

It came about after a number of contentious cases, including one where a Hindu wife faced custody battles and a multitude of problems when her husband became a Muslim and converted their children.
These amendments, which will have a retrospective effect once the Bill is passed, will be debated next year as the current meeting will end on Thursday.
In cases where both spouses are of different religions prior to one of them converting to Islam, the proposed Section 88A states that the children “shall be at liberty to remain in the religion of either parent”. The amendments will also allow the new convert to file for divorce to dissolve the civil marriage.
“Currently, the law does not give the spouse who has converted to Islam the right to file for divorce in civil court, as the right is only given to the spouse who has not converted to Islam,” the Bill stated.
It also stated that the spouse who converted to Islam cannot apply for divorce under the Islamic Family Law Act/Enactment because the Syariah Court does not have jurisdiction to hear cases involving non-Muslims.
“A conflict will arise where both spouses make an application in two different courts, i.e. civil and Syariah, and both make different orders,” it said.
Although the Syariah Court can grant an order for divorce and ancillary relief, it “does not dissolve the civil marriage” because that power is only given to the civil court.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who first announced the legal reforms in August, said that divorce matters involving civil marriages must be settled in a civil court, even if one of the spouses converts to Islam.
“The amendments are meant to resolve any dispute between civil and Syariah courts when a spouse embraces Islam,” he said.
The Bill also seeks to introduce a section which ensures the next-of-kin of the person converting to Islam, if he or she dies before the non-Muslim marriage is dissolved, is entitled to matrimonial assets.

“In making the distribution, the court shall have regard to the extent of the contributions made towards the acquisition of assets, debts owing, duration of the marriage and needs of the children,” it stated.
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answered on Nov 22, 2016 at 14:14
by   jeff005
edited Nov 22, 2016 at 14:19
by   jeff005
For non-Muslims

Read :-
http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2016/11/22/proposed-amendments-unconstitutional/

PETALING JAYA: Nine years ago, there was a case known as R. Subashini versus T. Saravanan in which the husband converted to Islam along with the elder of the couple’s two sons. The outcome was a landmark judgment by the Federal Court which ruled that any one parent had the right to convert a child.

Muslims Lawyers Association president Datuk Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar cited this case to show that the proposed amendments to the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act are unconstitutional.

The Federal Court, he said, had interpreted the Federal Constitution to mean that unilateral conversions was allowed with the consent of just one parent.

“Thus, the proposal to amend the Act to reflect that both parties must consent to the conversion is unconstitutional,” he said.

He said the Federal Constitution would have to be amended before the any changes could be made to the Act. Furthermore, he said the proposed amendments could not alone solve unilateral conversion problems as there were state laws related to Muslims.

“For Muslims, the state laws matter,” he said.

Zainul Rijal suggested that the Government create a tribunal court to resolve cases involving conversions. “These issues could be resolved through mediation,” he said.

Lawyer M. Kulasegaran, who is representing M. Indira Gandhi in her case where she is questioning her children’s conversion to Islam, said the amendments should be debated and passed at this current Dewan Rakyat meeting itself although it was due to end on Thursday.
“Many Malaysians are suffering in silence, especially those children who have been converted to Islam by a parent,” he said. “They are caught in this scenario and are unable to move on with their lives.”
He said Indira Gandhi had filed many cases in court, adding that one of these had been in the courts for over seven years. “I am meeting a team of lawyers who are involved in this issue to discuss this in detail and its effect in full,” he said.

The Shariah Lawyers Association of Malaysia said that any such amendment should not penalise new Muslim converts. Its president Musa Awang said the proposed amendments would give rights to the non-Muslim partner to seek a legal remedy in the civil court but no such rights would be given to the Muslim partner.

“Any amendment should consider the rights of the new convert and his or her rights as a Malaysian citizen,” said Musa.
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answered on Nov 22, 2016 at 14:40
by   jeff005
edited Nov 22, 2016 at 15:20
by   jeff005
My personal opinions

“Thus, the proposal to amend the Act to reflect that both parties must consent to the conversion is unconstitutional,” he said. 
The Constitutional Rights of the Child has been VIOLATED.

“For Muslims, the state laws matter,” he said. 
Non-Muslims is fully aware of this lopsided arrangement. Anyway, Muslim Syariah Laws differs slightly from state to state. Non-Muslims have not been "educated" on Syariah Laws as it can interpreted to their advantage.
How to contest when non-Muslims are not allow to file in Syariah Court?
Answer - NO FIGHT.. not even 1% chance.

“Any amendment should consider the rights of the new convert and his or her rights as a Malaysian citizen,” said Musa.
What about the The Constitutional Rights of the Child ???????????????????

Zainul Rijal suggested that the Government create a tribunal court to resolve cases involving conversions. “These issues could be resolved through mediation,” he said. 
How to mediate when there is no reversal after conversion of child? You are referring to feuding parents. If can mediate, then no divorce in the first place.

“Many Malaysians are suffering in silence, especially those children who have been converted to Islam by a parent,” he said. “They are caught in this scenario and are unable to move on with their lives.” 
After a nasty, lenghty, expensive, mind twisting fight in the High Court
Nobody can ever "move on" positively
The mental scar is there, especially for the Children involved.
For ALL involved.
It is not only the parties concerned but PUBLIC PERCEPTION on religious CONVERSION

Btw
M. Indira Gandhi 's eldest daughter is still a Convert (against her wishes)
What if she fell in love with a non-Muslim in the future and wants to marry?
The bakal suami has to convert?
How many people Constitutional Rights will be Violated in the future?
How is an Indian/Hindu convert living in "Hindu" house like?
Fear of the religious people taking action anytime? The unspoken fear is still there. 
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answered on Nov 24, 2016 at 03:32
by   jeff005
edited Nov 24, 2016 at 03:38
by   jeff005
The Star reported :- 

http://www.thestar.com.my/opinion/letters/2016/11/23/amendments-to-act-will-promote-justice-and-ease-pain/

Amendments to Act will promote justice and ease pain

THE Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) welcomes the tabling of the proposed amendments to the Law Reform (Marriage And Divorce) Act 1976 as reported in “Changes to Act tabled” (The Star, Nov 22).

We understand that the Bill, called “Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) (Amendment) 2016”, provides for the following under section 88A:
(i) both parties in a civil marriage must agree for the conversion of a minor, and
(ii) that the child will remain in the religion of the parents at the time of the marriage until the child is 18 years old when he may choose his religion.

The above amendments are in line with the Cabinet decision made in April 2009. The council had been prodding the Cabinet for the last seven years to disallow unilateral conversion of minors when one party to a civil marriage converts to Islam and now we are glad there is positive action.

The amendments are necessary and were long overdue.

They will promote justice and help to arrest the pain created when one spouse to marriage converts to Islam and then converts a minor of the marriage to Islam without consulting the other spouse, thus creating heartbreak for the non-converting spouse, as clearly seen in the cases of M. Indira Ghandi and S. Deepa.

JAGIR SINGH
Vice-president, MCCBCHST
Joint chairman, Legal Panel MCCBCHST
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