Indira Gandhi a/p Mutho v Pengarah Jabatan Islam Perak and Ors1.The Ipoh High Court qua
Family Court, in managing the one-sided change of minor kids to Islam by their
changed over the father, was constrained to swim through the mind-boggling and
prickly interface between common law and Islamic law in Malaysia2. In the occasion, in a
soundly contemplated choice conveyed on 25 July 2013, the High Court subdued
the minor youngsters’ transformation authentications got by the changed over
father (without the information or assent of the non-changing over mother) and
conceded a presentation that the minor kids had not been changed over. Two
emerge issues in Indira Gandhi as chose by the High Court was, initially, the
privilege of the non-changing over parent to be heard before the minor
youngsters can be changed over and, also, the Federal Constitution did not take
away the forces of the common High Courts the minute an issue came extremely
close to the Syariah Courts, the last being only an animal of state law,
without the ward to settle on the defensive ability of issues said to be inside
its select domain. The interest to the Federal Court was heard in late 2016 yet
the peak court still can’t seem to issue its choice.

Art 8 of Federal Constitution 3stated that it was not a
“license” for the parent to change over the child to Islam connected in a
circumstance where the changing over companion was the spouse as in
Nedunchelian Section 5 of the Guardianship of Infants Act 1961 4which accommodates
uniformity of parental rights was not pertinent since this Act denied its
application to the husband who is a Muslim.

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“Parent” covers both the father and mother of the youngster5.  The father is the parent as well as the
mother. A father and a mother joined together and become “parent”. It
is intriguing to take note of that “parent” is utilized as a part of
Art 12(4) of the Federal Constitution for the English content. With respect to
the Malay content, “parent” in Art 12(4)was made an interpretation of
as “Ibu-Bapa”.According to Kamus Dewan, the Malay word
“Ibu-Bapa” signifies “emak dan ayah” (mother and
father),i.e., “guardians” in the plural shape. A similar
interpretation was additionally embraced by the Faculty of Law, University of
Malaya. In the 1980s, “Ibu-Bapa” was again utilized as a part of the
Federal Constitution (Malay interpretation). in the2000s, the
Attorney-General’s Chambers of Malaysia has supplanted the words “Ibu
Bapa”, which they already interpreted, with the words “ibu atau
Bapa” (signifying “mother or father” in the solitary shape) in
Art 12(4).

Article 160 of the Federal Constitution
gives particular implications to words utilized as a part of the Constitution6.  Article 160(1) alludes to the Eleventh Schedule
to the Constitution and states that the implications are given there might
apply. What’s more, the Eleventh Schedule expresses that the “words in the
particular incorporate the plural, and words in the plural incorporate the
solitary7”.   In this way, Article 12(4) must be
translated as requiring the religion of child (regardless of whether male or
female) younger than eighteen years to be chosen by the two guardians8, in situations where the
two guardians are alive. As needs are, one-sided religious transformations of
any minor youngsters in rupture of this are illegal.

In this setting segment, 4(3) of the
Interpretation Acts 1948 and 1967 states the same, e.g.: “words are
articulations in the solitary incorporate the plural, and words are articulations
in the plural incorporate the particular”

When we read the Bahasa rendition of
Article 12(4) either father or mother could choose the religion of a man under
the eighteen years, the first impact and aim had been lost. Sound judgment
would manage that the aim of Parliament in detailing proviso 12(4) was to
enable the two guardians and not to a solitary parent to choose the religion of
their child under eighteen years of age. For contention, one might say that a
solitary parent could choose the religion of a man under eighteen years on the
off chance that one of the other organic guardians or one of the lawfully new
parents had passed on. On account of an ill-conceived kid, just the mother has
the privilege to settle on the youngster’s religious status, not the father.

The Malaysian Bar approaches the
Government to guarantee that the Bahasa Malaysia rendition of the Federal
Constitution is redressed, so the expression “ibu Bapa” is utilized.
The Malaysian Bar likewise approaches the Government to actualize suitable
revisions to the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 9to additionally clarify and
give confirmation that the assent of the two guardians is acquired before any
minor youngsters being permitted to change his or her religion. The one-sided
transformation of minor youngsters to any religion ought to be unsuitable. The
Malaysian Bar asks the Government to instantly administer to determine this
contention, which has occasioned untold hardship and social foul play to
numerous subjects.

Article 160B of the Federal Constitution
gives that the national dialect content should be definitive and any
inconsistency between such national dialect content and the English dialect
message, the national dialect content might beat the English dialect content. The
genuine reason for the adjustment in the words”

The articulation in craftsmanship 12(4)
might be perused as “chosen by his parents”. The same ought to apply
uniformly and similarly to a wide range of change where the two guardians can’t
be of one personality. The composers did not face a circumstance where for any
religion other than Islam the assent of the two guardians are required where
they can’t concur on the religion of the minor youngster yet that for
transformation to Islam, just the assent of the changed over parent would do
the trick.

In the case of Subashini Rajasingam v. Saravanan Thangathoray10, Ibu Bapa” (mother
and father) to “ibu atau Bapa” (mother or father) is misty.
Regardless of whether this was affected by or come about because of the current
pattern of the court choices which deciphered Article 12(4) of the Federal
Constitution truly stays flawed11.

Only tolerating the assent of one parent
realizing that the other parent had protested would prompt a not as much as the
attractive state, most definitely, of rehashed transformations of one parent of
the kid against the change of the other parent. Or on the other hand as on
account of a change of the minor kid to Islam by the changed over parent, the
non-changing over parent is said to have no locus to challenge the legitimacy
of the Certificate of Conversion which is last and authoritative and that once
changed over into Islam nobody can change over the minor youngster out of
Islam. (Subashini Rajasingam v. Saravanan Thangathoray).

1 2013 5 MLJ 552

2 Trevor Padasian
discusses the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) (Amendment) Bill 2016.
Unilateral Conversion in Malaysia.

3 The Malaysian
Bar, Case: Subashini a/p Rajasingam v Saravanana/l Thangathoray

4 Women’s Aid
Organisation (WAO). Memorandum .Safeguard Rights of Wives and Children upon
Conversion of Husbands to Islam. 5 February 2007

5 Lee Swee Seng
Judicial Review No: 25-10-2009, 25 July 2013.

6 K Siladass. Tuesday, 06 December 2016.The Word ‘Parent ‘in
Article 12(4) of the Federal Constitution.

7 Christopher
Leong (2013). Unilateral of Conversion of Minor Children are unconstitutional,
18 June 2013.

8 Move to amend law lauded. Monday, 29 Aug 2016

9 “Expedite amendments to end unilateral
child conversion, Putrajaya told”. Friday April 7, 2017

10 2007 2 MLJ

11 Steven Thiru. Press Release | Preserve, Respect and Uphold the Supremacy of the
Federal Constitution. Wednesday, 08 June

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