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Azalina: Kulasegaran should be thankful to Najib gov't for law reform
Published:  Jan 29, 2018 11:25 AM
Updated: 11:30 AM

Ipoh Barat MP M Kulasegaran should be thankful to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's government instead of criticising it over marriage law reforms, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Azalina Othman Said.

Azalina said she had already explained in Parliament that the government previously could not push forward a ban on unilateral conversions of minors due to the legal interpretation of Article 12 (4)'s definition of the word “parent”.

"I had already informed the government's rationale in Parliament and had mentioned the possibility of Section 88A being tabled again depending on whether the constitution is amended or a court ruling changes the previous situation.

"He (Kulasegaran) should understand and be thankful to the Najib government for various progressive legal transformations include the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act (amendment) Bill.

Section 88A refers to a proposed clause of the Act which would have blocked unilateral conversions of minors.

The government, however, dropped the clause and passed a watered down version of the bill last August.

The Federal Court in a landmark decision today ruled that children could not be unilaterally converted to Islam and that this would require the consent of both parents.

Following this, Kulasegaran issued a scathing criticism of the government, saying the courts had done what the cabinet and Parliament were afraid to do.

Azalina said based on today's court ruling she will be raising the matter of unilateral conversions with the cabinet again.

The minister in charge of law also urged the public to respect the court ruling, saying it took into consideration racial harmony and the rights of parents.

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