In Selangor, Pakatan downplays fallout over controversial conversion Bill

Selangor Mentri Besar Amirudin Shari speaks to reporters after a Selangor State Assembly session in Shah Alam July 31, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Selangor Mentri Besar Amirudin Shari speaks to reporters after a Selangor State Assembly session in Shah Alam July 31, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 7 — Tensions are rife in Selangor as Mentri Besar Amirudin Shari is set to meet state Pakatan Harapan leaders tomorrow amid a split among the ruling coalition’s state lawmakers over a proposed amendment which would allow the unilateral conversion of minors to Islam.

It is understood that the Selangor MB had planned to push through an amendment to a state enactment, which currently says that individuals below 18 must obtain the consent of both “mother and father” before converting to Islam.

The planned amendment will see a change of this wording to “mother or father”; meaning that one parent will get to decide on the conversion of a minor.

While leaders are downplaying the purpose of tomorrow’s meeting, they admit that the proposal is in place and that it was meant to be tabled during last week’s state assembly.

“On the amendment of the Bill, there are some disagreements so perhaps the Speaker at the time felt that it was best to not table Bill yet

“But for the government (Selangor) we want to table it,” PKR’s Bukit Melawati state assemblyman Juwairiya Zulkifli told Malay Mail.

She said the “disagreement now” between Selangor PH lawmakers is whether the amendment should be tabled now or later.

“The MB is doing it the right way, but the Speaker has the power to make the decision,” she added.

The Selangor assembly meeting was scheduled to run for nine days from July 29 to August 9, but ended after just two days on July 31.

This was rumoured to be linked to a vote of no-confidence against Selangor Mentri Besar Amirudin Shari, but Selangor Speaker Ng Suee Lin denied this.

“The state assembly was cut short because I followed the standing order to end it when the proceedings have ended, and the participation of the state lawmakers was also not effective this time round,” he told Malay Mail.

When asked about claims of a fallout between him and Amirudin over the proposed amendment, Ng said it was all “hearsay.”

“So far, we have a good relationship,” he added, but told Malay Mail to direct all queries regarding the amendment to MB Amirudin.

“You better ask him tomorrow,” Ng said, adding that he will be attending the meeting with Amirudin tomorrow.

Selangor Amanah chairman Izham Hashim also confirmed the meeting tomorrow, but stressed that it was a “regular” PH meeting.

“It is a regular monthly meeting, but one of the issues to be discussed is the Bill,” he told Malay Mail, referring to the amendment.

Five Selangor leaders from each PH party are expected to be at the meeting.

It is understood that Selangor PH as well as the MB’s own executive council are split with regards to the amendment to the state enactment.

Malay Mail has reached out to the Selangor MB for an official response.

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