Press statement by Chong Eng , DAP National Wanita Chief and Pg state Exco for Women, Family and Community Development Committee and state Assembly person for Padang Lalang on 5 Sept 2017.
Give PH the mandate and we will go to Parliament to ban unilateral conversion with or without two third majority .
Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Najib said that he needs a two thirds majority in Parliament in order to amend the Federal Constitution to push for a ban on unilateral child conversion.
I opine that it is a bad excuse on three counts. Firstly, whilst tabling the amendment is the responsibility of a government but approving the amendment is the duty of all elected representatives. Many of the opposition elected representatives were more than willing to approve the LRA Bill before the unilateral conversion clause was removed last minute. Why do you need a two thirds majority when you could have tabled the clause and got it approved with the help of opposition members in the last parliamentary seating.
Secondly, there’s no need to amend the Federal Constitution (“FC”) as the word “parent” in Article 12(4) of the FC as Article 160 of the FC states that the “words in the singular include the plural and words in the plural include the singular”. It was all a lame excuse. Apparently, the ultras in Zahid’s Home Ministry threatened to object to the whole LRA Bill if the unilateral conversion clause was not removed. Hence, a deal was made. The rights of women affected by unilateral conversion were traded off for the LRA Bill to be tabled and approved without the unilateral conversion clause.
The worst part is that the women affected by unilateral conversion are now held at ransom again by Najib. If you don’t vote for BN then you will continue to suffer.
Najib’s track record for keeping his promises is not great to begin with. Before GE13, BN promised to repeal draconian statutes like like ISA, Printing Presses and Publications Act and Banishment Act. BN did repeal those statues but only to replace them with more powerful and draconian statutes like SOSMA and NSA. Don’t fall for Najib’s fake promises again.
The unilateral conversion of minor children has caused abominable pain and sufferings to the non-converting spouse. The need is now more urgent than ever for an effective and conclusive legal remedy to circumvent the prolonged and persistent recurrence of this social injustice. It is the duty of of the Malaysian Parliament to elucidate and bring a closure on issues of conversions and custody of children by amending the relevant laws.
If PH is given the mandate in the GE14, with or without two third majority, we will table the amendment to ban unilateral conversion to prevent families from breaking up by such action.