KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 4 — It is near impossible for those who have converted to Islam to renounce the faith, Wanita MCA chief Datuk Heng Seai Kie said today after a Shariah lawyer claimed minors can leave Islam upon turning 18.
Heng noted that for those who want to renounce Islam, there are reformatory classes and even penalties imposed varying among the states.
“How many converted minors revert to their original faith if the Shariah Court declares them as Muslims?” Heng asked in a statement.
Recently, the Court of Appeal upheld the unilateral conversion of Hindu mother M.Indira Gandhi’s three children to Islam by her ex-husband who had converted to the predominant faith.
However, Malaysian Syariah Lawyers Association president Musa Awang later said that minors can seek redress at the Shariah Court when they turn 18 years old.
Heng said those who have converted to Islam faced the same difficulties whether they were converted against their will or by their parents.
She said that an application to seek redress at the Shariah Court would further jeopardise the legal status of the minor’s own non-Muslim faith.
“Such action is self defeatist as it will only serve to self-reconfirm his or her status as a Muslim,” she said. “The fates of these minor children will be permanently sealed should the Shariah court declare them as Muslims”.
She reiterated MCA’s stance that both parents must have an equal say in determining their child’s religion.
“We urge all state religious departments to adhere to the 2009 Cabinet decision and not simply issue conversion certificates for minor children when only one parent is present,” she said.
The Cabinet in 2009 decided that a child’s religion will be the common religion professed by both parents at the time of the marriage in the event of conversion by either one of the parents.
Heng urged all states to follow the footsteps of Negeri Sembilan Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, who said that those who want to convert to Islam should properly divorce their spouses and make a statutory declaration first.