KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 2 — A PKR lawmaker today submitted a private member’s Bill to amend the Federal Constitution and prohibit unilateral child conversion.
Alor Setar MP Gooi Hsiao Leung said that he submitted the Bill pursuant to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s insistence that Barisan Nasional needed a two-thirds majority to amend the Constitution and stop unilateral conversion of children to Islam.
“Right now, Najib is just short of 16 MPs to get the 2/3 support needed to make the constitutional amendment, of which I am certain, many more than 16 (Pakatan) Harapan MPs are ever more ready support the constitutional amendment,” Gooi said in a statement.
Putrajaya had previously proposed to ban unilateral conversion by amending the Law Reform Act (Marriage and Divorce), but dropped the initiative following pressure from certain Islamic groups.
The government said that it was bound by a previous Federal Court ruling that interpreted the constitutional provision of “parent” as a single parent, and not both.
Gooi is proposing to amend the Article 12(4) of the Federal Constitution to expressly require both parents’ consent when converting the religion of a minor. The clause currently states consent is needed from a parent or guardian.