Yoursay: Federal Court ruling on unilateral conversion supersedes S'gor bill


Modified 12 Aug 2019, 12:34 am

YOURSAY | ‘Haniff is putting the cart before the horse with his logic on debating the amendment.'

S'gor unilateral conversion bill should have been debated - lawyer

Gerard Lourdesamy: Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla should not be commenting because he represented M Indira Gandhi’s husband. He is clearly not a disinterested party or even remotely objective.

The Federal Court decision was as clear as day. The consent of both parents is required for the conversion of a minor.

Until the Federal Constitution is amended to say otherwise, the decision of the Federal Court is binding. The Federal Court cannot depart from its own previous decision except in very limited and exceptional circumstances.

In the Indira case, the Federal Court also ruled that on the question of whether a purported conversion was valid under state or federal law or in the event of a constitutional challenge, the civil courts would have exclusive jurisdiction, more so where one party is a non-Muslim.

The apex court reaffirmed that the Syariah Court has absolutely no jurisdiction over non-Muslims.

Increasingly, state Islamic laws are being passed in violation of the Federal Constitution, notably in relation to matters exclusively under the federal list. This affects both Muslims and non-Muslims alike. It is time that this is stopped.

The doctrine of separation of powers also applies to the jurisdiction and powers of the federation and states under the constitution.

In Malaysia, under Article 4 of the Constitution, it is the Constitution that is the supreme law and not syariah. Articles 3 and 11 do not render our country an Islamic state. It only makes Islam the religion of the federation for ceremonial and ritual purposes.

David Dass: A bill proposing a law that violates the constitution should not be tabled. The attorney-general should make sure of that.

There was nothing ambiguous about the decision of the Federal Court. The conversion of a minor child requires the consent of both parents. Until a review is held, that is the law.

To suggest that the decision is not cast in stone and can evolve is nonsense. That would make the law always uncertain and changeable with the whims and winds of political change.

Kita Orang Biasa: Haniff, based on what you said, "those who are not happy can take it to court". Indira, who was not happy, has taken her case to court and the Federal Court has made a decision.

Telling people to go to court if they are not happy is very irresponsible.

The right of every citizen regardless of their religious background should be protected, and the Selangor speaker Ng Suee Lim did the right thing.

Prudent: I agree, telling people to go to court if they are not happy is very irresponsible, given the Indira case and especially after the Federal Court ruling.

With the inaction of the police and the perceived opposition of the 'deep state', taking the matter to court is seen as an agonising, expensive and fruitless exercise.

Haniff is very presumptuous. He is assuming that the Federal Court ruling can be changed and therefore cannot be relied on when deciding whether to table the bill, which goes against the ruling.

As far as the rakyat is concerned, the Federal Court ruling is the law until it is changed.

But that is beside the point as far as the tabling of the bill is concerned – in fact, any bill. The speaker had said that he was following procedures and there are precedents. He was not blocking the tabling on purpose.

Fair Play: Haniff is another highly intelligent member of the august profession, I suppose. So, the logic of his argument is that the bill must be debated for the sake of debating – just because of the separation of powers he postulated.

I am not a lawyer. By and large, legislations are of two types – overarching and subordinate. The state constitution is subordinate legislation, in my view as a layperson.

Any member of the rakyat who has common sense and thinks rationally is better any day than run-of-mill members of their august profession. Besides, Haniff is a lawyer. He is not a lawmaker in the Selangor Legislative Assembly.

Anonymous_95dd1997: Those affected may not have the means to bring the matter to court like the Indira case. After all, money doesn't grow on trees.

Why put another family through hardship just to prove a point? That's insane logic.

Anonymous_1527925538: The lawyer seems to forget that the three branches of our democracy have another core function, which is to provide checks and balances.

The three branches derive their power from the Federal Constitution, the supreme law of the land, and the Federal Court is the final arbiter in the interpretation of it.

Now, the Federal Court has made a clear ruling on the matter and yet certain members of the Selangor state assembly still insist on debating and trying to pass a law against its ruling?

This could be considered an act of contempt of court.

On the Other Hand: Haniff is putting the cart before the horse. If any amendments are to be made to the Federal Constitution, which is supreme, it should be raised at Parliament first and not at the respective state assemblies, which are all subservient to Parliament.

This is a waste of time, and lawyers’ fees (we won't say who) to serve the interests of those who wish to disrupt peace and harmony in the country.

Anonymous 2327531438397239: Religion causes so much pain and anger when individuals or groups manipulate its teachings for their own political agenda.

Indeed, the Federal Court has ruled that the consent of both parents is required for any conversion of persons aged 18 and below. So, why is there a need to stir up unnecessary trouble again?

By the way, there are more pressing issues facing the country.

Let’s focus on making Malaysia an open and tolerant nation and respect each other’s faith without prejudice or bias.

The freedom to choose one’s religion or belief is paramount to an individual’s rights and must be upheld by the law.

The above is a selection of comments posted by Malaysiakini subscribers. Only paying subscribers can post comments. Over the past one year, Malaysiakinians have posted over 100,000 comments. Join the Malaysiakini community and help set the news agenda. Subscribe now.

These comments are compiled to reflect the views of Malaysiakini subscribers on matters of public interest. Malaysiakini does not intend to represent these views as fact.

Share this story

By posting a comment, you agree to our Terms & Conditions as stipulated in full here


Foul language, profanity, vulgarity, slanderous, personal attack, threatening, sexually-orientated comments or the use of any method of communication that may violate any law or create needless unpleasantness will not be tolerated. Antisocial behaviour such as "spamming" and "trolling" will be suspended. Violators run the risk of also being blocked permanently.


Please use the report feature that is available below each comment to flag offending comments for our moderators to take action. Do not take matters in your own hands to avoid unpleasant and unnecessary exchanges that may result in your own suspension or ban.