Charles: Time for AG to ensure state laws reflect Federal Court Judgment

Charles: Time for AG to ensure state laws reflect Federal Court Judgment

This is what the tug of war is about: the Perlis religious authorities defending unilateral conversions because it’s allowed for in the state enactment and many others pointing out such an act is unconstitutional.

To add to this, we have the state mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin, who spoke to Loh Siew Hong’s children and now claims they will remain Muslims.

The mum, who endured physical abuse, at the hands of her then-husband is made to undergo even more emotional trauma because this has been fashioned to look like a religious issue.

In a country where the deputy minister of Women, Family and Community Development publicly condones violence, as long as it’s a gentle strike, we can’t quite expect this issue to be looked at through the right lens: one which focuses on domestic violence and how husbands use Islam to convert their kids during a marital dispute, despite a 2018 Federal Court ruling that bans unilateral conversions.

I refuse to believe Mohd Asri is as ignorant as he claims to be. Just like any ordinary citizen, he must also know that the Federal Constitution is the supreme law of the country and the Federal Court ruling is binding on all states.

Right after the 2018 ruling, it was made clear that state laws must be aligned to reflect the Federal court order. But why wasn’t this carried out? It’s not too late now.

We need the Attorney-General Idrus Harun, who has kept an absolute silence, to look into ensuring state laws are in compliance with the Federal Court order. Or, we will continue to see more cases of unilateral conversions by husbands who do it out of spite.

And could someone also tell Mohd Asri to take his nonsense down a notch or two? He’s blaming DAP, berating human rights lawyer Siti Kasim and calling Indians “the LTTE folks”, while glossing over the real issue.

While I understand Mohd Asri may be empty of intellectual debates, even he should know stirring racist sentiments and pitting one community against the other is dangerous in multiracial Malaysia.

So, before this gets worse let’s hope the AG responds.

Charles Santiago is a Member of Parliament Klang

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