KUALA LUMPUR, 1 July 2009: The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism today expressed confidence that the Malay rulers will protect the interests of all Malaysians, both Muslims and non-Muslims, on the issue of conversion of minors to Islam.
Its president, Datuk A Vaithilingam, said although they were disappointed that non-Muslim families were still left in uncertainty over the matter, they respected the decision made at the special meeting of the Conference of Rulers at Istana Negara on Monday, 29 June.
The rulers, at the special meeting chaired by the Raja of Perlis, Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Jamalullail, decided to get the views of the respective state religious councils before arriving at a decision on the matter.
As such, the Conference of Rulers decided to defer its decision on the proposed amendments to the state enactments on the matter.
On 22 April, the cabinet made a decision that minors could remain in the religion of their parents at the time of their marriage, even if either parent later converted to another religion.
The cabinet was of the view that conversions could not be used as an excuse to automatically dissolve a marriage or to get custody of children.
It also agreed that any individual wishing to change religion should first settle any outstanding issues with his or her spouse, to avoid innocent parties, especially children, becoming victims.
Matters concerning Islam come under state jurisdiction. The rulers are the heads of Islam in their respective states. — Bernama
Nicholas Aw says
The Malay rulers are doing the right thing by wanting to get feedback before making a decision. However, I hope that they would not take too much time to come to a decision because with each passing day there may appear more cases similar to Mohan Singh, Lina Joy and others.
In fact, this matter should be treated with urgency and hopefully the rulers and the government will not drag their feet because these conversion cases and custodial decisions in favour of one party at the expense of the other are giving Islam a negative image.