Two-third majority needed to amend Constitution to ban unilateral conversion: Najib
Tue, Sep 5, 2017
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KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia needs "maturity" and "two-third majority" to amend the Federal Constitu tion to ban unilateral conversions.
Stating this, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak said the government has tried to bring laws to prohibit unilateral conversions but was bound by the Constitution.
He was referring to Clause 88A, which was removed from an amendment to a marriage reform law in Parliament recently because it contravenes Article 12(4) regarding the religion of a child in Malaysia.
"... (Clause) 88A and all that. Yes, but we need maturity to change the constitution. For that we need two-thirds majority ... and I don't have the two-thirds majority.
"But if the women can give us the two-thirds majority then maybe it's possible," Najib said when concluding the TN50 Dialogue with women groups here today.
He was responding to a question by the National Council for Women's Organisation (NCWO) on bringing back Clause 88A in the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) (Amendment) Bill 2016 (LRA).
&quo t;Talk is cheap. But if I as the PM say something, I will make sure I keep my word and fulfill my promise," Najib said, adding that not everything that people ask can be fulfilled.
He said that aspirations need to be practical and that he is not a leader who would promise anything and everything.
NCWO representatives had also raised concerns on child marriage and lack of women in the legislative body during the TN50 dialogue organised by the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry.
The amendments to the LRA initially contained Clause 88A on the religion of the child, which allows the child to remain in its original religion despite the conversion of one of the parent to Islam - the very clause that would ban unilateral conversions of minors when a parent decides to convert to Islam.
This however was removed because there are four court decisions â" three Federal Court and one Court of Appeal â" binding the interpretation of "parent&q uot; as singular in Article 12(4) of the Federal Constitution.
Article 12(4) of the Constitution states that the religion of a person under the age of 18 years shall be decided by his parent or guardian.
A fresh LRA bill was tabled in Parliament in August and was passed.
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