NEWS

S’gor MB: Speaker had mandate to greenlight tabling of bill

Alyaa Alhadjri

Published
Modified 9 Aug 2019, 1:53 am

Selangor Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari today said state assembly speaker Ng Suee Lim had the mandate to decide whether to greenlight the tabling of a proposed amendment which would have allowed the unilateral conversion of minors to Islam.

"It was part of the discussion, whether we wanted to table (the amendment) or not," Amirudin told reporters after a closed-door dinner in Shah Alam with Selangor PKR members and Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali.

"Finally, I gave the mandate to the speaker to make a decision because the approval to bring the (order) paper to the state assembly is at the discretion of the speaker." 

Quizzed whether he had tried to push for the amendment, which was reportedly met with protests from Harapan assemblypersons at a July 26 pre-council meeting, Amirudin said there was an attempt for the proposed amendments to be tabled at the end of the most recent Selangor Legislative Assembly sitting.

"We tried to bring it to the end of the sitting but unfortunately something happened during the sitting and there were a few motions that did not get to be tabled," he claimed.

Amiruddin also noted how discussions on the proposed amendments had failed to reach a consensus and as such there was "wisdom" in Ng ending the sitting earlier than usual.

However, Ng had previously denied ending the sitting early with the intention of preventing the amendments from being tabled.

Speaking to reporters after the bimonthly Selangor Pakatan Harapan meeting held at Amirudin's official residence tonight, Ng brushed off such talk as "rumours which were spread by the media."

He instead said that the session was adjourned due to the low participation of assemblypersons in debates on the issues tabled during the session.

The sitting was originally scheduled to run from July 29 to Aug 9, but instead ended after two days.

Sources previously told Malaysiakini that Ng had declined to sign a document which would prioritise state government bills, therefore halting plans to table the amendment.

At present, the enactment reads that those below 18 must obtain the consent of his or her "mother and father" before embracing Islam. The amendment seeks to change this to "mother or father."

The Bahasa Malaysia version of the Federal Constitution also refers to "mother or father" with regard to consent for conversion.

However, the apex court last year made a landmark ruling in the M Indira Gandhi case that the constitution should not be interpreted literally and the consent of both parents are needed for the conversion of minors.

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