FIRST thing first. The quashing of the unilateral conversion of Loh Siew Hong’s three children to Islam by the Court of Appeal which ruled that the conversion is null and void is certainly not an arbitrary action to undermine Islam as Malaysia’s official religion.
Like how the Federal Constitution uphold Islam as the country’s official religion, the appellant court has ruled that the Perlis state enactment – namely Section 117(b) of the state’s Administration of the Religion of Islam Enactment 2006 which permits only the permission of one parent to convert a child to Islam – is invalid as it contravenes the Federal Constitution.
Therefore, this begs the question if it is justified for Selangor PAS liaison secretary Roslan Shahir Mohd Shahir to liken Wednesday’s (Jan 10) gloomy skyline in Putrajaya as “weeping” over the Court of Appeal’s verdict which favoured Loh – a Hindu single mother – and her children.
For context, the appellant court rejected the High Court’s decision which maintained the status quo or Islamic faith of Loh’s three children who were unilaterally converted by her ex-husband Muhammad Nagashwaran Muniandy without her consent in 2020. He has since been arrested for a drug offence and is now in prison in Kelantan.
“This means that the conversion to Islam of their three children – a pair of twin girls now 15 and a boy 13 – has become invalid,” lamented Roslan Shahir.
“In fact, the court also ruled that Section 117(b) of Perlis State Enactment 4 which allowed the conversion as invalid for it contradicts the Federal Constitution. More unfortunate is that the court has also accorded exception to declare Loh’s three children as Hindu. Three Muslim teenagers were declared Hindu again at the request of their mother.”
It is rather regretful – or disgraceful – that PAS would stoop so low to derive political mileage from Loh’s misery prior to being re-united with her three children rather than to uphold virtues of the Islamic doctrine that Islam prohibits forced conversion.
“Cases of divorce and conversion of religion like this happen often and are very disappointing. The religious authorities need to take a serious look at this matter and fix any weaknesses that exist,” asserted Roslan Shahir. “Don’t let any Muslim children be apostatised. It’s very unfortunate if this continues to happen.” – Jan 11, 2024
Main pic credit: The Star