Gobind: Retabling unilateral conversion Bill not in Selangor Pakatan talks with MB

Gobind says the DAP is firmly against one parent one-sidedly converting the religion of his or her child under 18, stressing that it is unconstitutional. ― Picture by Miera Zulyana
Gobind says the DAP is firmly against one parent one-sidedly converting the religion of his or her child under 18, stressing that it is unconstitutional. ― Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 9 ― Selangor DAP chairman Gobind Singh Deo today dismissed the possibility of a Bill allowing the unilateral religious conversion of minors resurfacing in the state legislative assembly.

Despite Selangor Mentri Besar Amirudin Shari’s indication last night that the Bill might be tabled in future assembly sittings, Gobind said the matter was not brought up for discussion at yesterday’s state Pakatan Harapan (PH) meeting with the leader.

“The question of it being retabled was never discussed at the Pakatan Harapan meeting yesterday.

“So of course the question of it being tabled again as it is does not arise,” the Puchong MP told reporters after the memorandum of understanding signing ceremony with Esports Malaysia at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre here.

Gobind who is also communications and multimedia minister said the DAP is firmly against one parent one-sidedly converting the religion of his or her child under 18, stressing that it is unconstitutional.

“As far as we are concerned, my stand remains. And we are firm in our position that any Bill which is unconstitutional ought not be table in the state legislative assembly. That position remains,” he said.

Amirudin told reporters after a closed-door dinner event with state PKR leaders in Shah Alam last night that the controversial Bill could still be tabled at the next state legislative assembly sitting, if there was a need, without elaborating.

He only said that during the meeting, he had discussed with state leaders whether or not to proceed with the Bill to amend the Selangor state Islamic enactment which concerns religious conversions of children below age 18 by only one parent instead of both parents.

Amirudin, who is Sungai Tua assemblyman, admitted he was going to present the proposal at the last sitting that started July 29, but also said he gave a mandate to Selangor Speaker Ng Suee Lim to decide on whether or not to allow the tabling.

However, Gobind had earlier said the Bill is contrary to the Federal Constitution and the Federal Court’s landmark 2018 ruling against unilateral conversions to Islam, made in the case of Hindu mother M. Indira Gandhi.

He also said its state lawmakers would reject any Bill that will allow only one parent to change the religion of any child under age 18.

Tensions have built up within Selangor Pakatan Harapan as it was said there is a split among the ruling coalition’s state lawmakers over the proposed amendment which would allow the unilateral conversion of minors to Islam.

It is understood that Amirudin 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.