Home English News “Federal court ruling is not an “interpretation”, but constitutional decision” – Ramasamy

“Federal court ruling is not an “interpretation”, but constitutional decision” – Ramasamy

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COMMENT BY YB PROF DR P.RAMASAMY, DEPUTY CHIEF MINISTER II, PENANG

Federal court ruling is not an “interpretation”, but constitutional decision

The religious affairs department minister Idris Ahmad must be either in the slumber land or pretending that federal laws must take cognisance of the state laws or enactment on religious conversions.

For Idris, state laws must be respected on conversions matters as the 2018 federal court ruling was merely an “interpretation” of the Constitution. He was replying to the question posed by the MP of Sungei Buloh, R. Sivarasa (PH) as to why the federal government had not engaged the states in synchronising laws that are not inconsistent with federal court ruling on religious conversion of minors.

Idris said that when it came to the conversion of minors, the state laws must be respected. However, he said that what was important was the question of children’s welfare and how they were brought by both Muslim and non-Muslim families.

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This was simply a diversionary tactic employed by Idris to skirt the matter of the implications of conflict between federal and state laws.

If such kind of statements had come from the Perlis mufti Asri Zainul Abidin, then it was nothing surprising at all. As Asri is known for his religious bigotry towards the non-Muslims in the country.

It was he who defended the Perlis state law on religious conversion of single mother Loh Siew Hong’s three underaged children as it required the consent of only one parent.

Anyway, Idris is not a religious official of a state but a federal minister in charge of Muslim religious affairs in the country was a whole.

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It is expected that Idrus in keeping with his federal functions must be fully cognisant of the both state and federal laws especially when there was a conflict.

He was not expected to play politics with the law to basically take the side of the Perlis religious authorities as to why the conversion of single mother Loh Siew Hong’s children should not be challenged.

As it is, the Perlis religious department has already sought an investigation via the high court as to why the religious status of the three underaged children should be maintained.

Basically, a third party intervention with no bearing on the custody of three children as they are now under the custody of the mother.

A frivolous and vexatious intervention to say the least.

An argument that is line with the indefensible stand of the Perlis Islamic religious department.

I understand that the court hearing of the matter is scheduled on April 29, 2022. It is beyond belief that Idris as a federal minister would call the federal court’s ruling on the consent of both parents as mere “interpretation”.

If this so, maybe he should be telling the public what steps the government is taking to nullify the federal court ruling in the case of the Indira Gandhi in 2018.

His statement calling the federal court ruling as an “interpretation” is an affront to the Constitution of the country. It is beyond imagination that federal minister would stoop so low to demean and question a constitutional ruling on the matter of religious conversion of the minors.

By calling the landmark federal court ruling as a mere “interpretation”, Idrus had questioned and ridiculed the highest law of the land—the Constitution.

There could be no higher crime than Indrus’ questioning and ridiculing the Constitution.

I urge the Prime Minister to take immediate action by firing Idrus and replacing him with someone more knowledgeable about the laws in the country especially when state laws are in contradiction with federal laws.

At the same time the federal government especially the Attorney General rather than remaining a silent spectator of events in the country direct all state legal departments to ensure state laws conformity to federal laws.