The statement by lawyer Mohamed Hanif Khatri Abdulla that the bill on the unilateral conversions of minors to Islam in the Selangor State Assembly ought to have been debated despite a Federal Court ruling that such conversions require the consent of both parents is, with respect, misconceived

The statement by lawyer Mohamed Hanif Khatri Abdulla that the bill on the unilateral conversions of minors to Islam in the Selangor State Assembly ought to have been debated despite a Federal Court ruling that such conversions require the consent of both parents is, with respect, misconceived.

While there seems to be no restriction in debating a bill which proposes a law which has been declared unconstitutional by the highest court of the land, common sense clearly dictates that such a course would be a waste of time.

The said Federal Court ruling in the case of Indira Gandhi a/p Mutho v Pengarah Jabatan Agam Islam Perak & ors is clear and unambiguous and remains the law as it stands in the country today on the matter, the effect of which, is that any such unilateral conversion would be unconstitutional as it would be contrary to the Federal Constitution.

Until and unless the said ruling is overruled by the Federal Court or overtaken by an amendment to the Federal Constitution itself, state legislation is bound by the same.

As such, debating a bill which proposes a law which is clearly unconstitutional in the Selangor State Assembly would serve no purpose.

Furthermore, passing such a law in Selangor will cause unnecessary uncertainty as it may result in the application of a law which has been declared unconstitutional and of no effect.

In such a scenario, unnecessary costs for the purposes of litigating matters in which such a law has been applied would be incurred.

The said Federal Court ruling is final as it stands and should be respected. It is necessary for that ruling to be followed and debating a bill which is clearly contrary to the same in the Selangor State Assembly would certainly be a step in the wrong direction.

Ramkarpal Singh
CHAIRMAN, DAP NATIONAL LEGAL BUREAU & MP FOR BUKIT GELUGOR
Media statement by Ramkarpal Singh in Kuala Lumpur on Friday, 9th August 2019