“Leave Loh Siew Hong’s family alone,” Wanita MCA tells detractors

WANITA MCA has called on all quarters to cease their meddling and harassment of Loh Siew Hong’s family.

This is following the unanimous decision by a three-member apex court panel to deny leave for the Perlis Islamic Religious and Malay Customs Council (MAIPs) and three others to proceed with an appeal to reinstate the Islamic conversion of Loh’s children.

“As the apex court has dismissed the appeals from all parties, this means that the Court of Appeal’s decision in January that the unilateral conversion by Loh’s ex-husband M. Nagahswaran was illegal will be taken as the final decision,” Wanita MCA national deputy chairperson Tee Hooi Ling said in a statement on Wednesday (May 15).

“(Following the ruling), Wanita MCA urges all quarters to cease meddling with, and all harassments on the family. Allow them to resume their life peacefully as a family unit, free of interferences from any dissatisfied or overzealous party.”

The Federal Corut’s ruling means that the religion of Loh’s minor children remains as Hindu as recorded in their birth certificates.

Legislative amendments needed

To prevent similar incidents from recurring in future, Tee called for the government to uphold the rights of non-Muslims via legislative amendments, including the move to incorporate Article 88A into the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act to allow children to maintain their original religious beliefs until they reach legal age.

As such, any changes to a minor child’s religion may only be undertaken after securing consent from both parents, i.e., ‘ibubapa’, she added.

Tee further noted that for further avoidance of doubt and to substantiate clarity, the Malay version of the Federal Constitution must be amended to revert to using the original terminology of “parents” i.e., “ibubapa”, instead of “ibu atau bapa” (mother or father).

“Irrespective if the parent is Muslim or non-Muslim, Wanita MCA believes that people in general are reasonable and such incidents will not repeat,” she remarked.

“The women’s wing of MCA hopes that individuals undergoing a separation, or are in a process of divorce, or have divorced will not exploit the law to gain an advantage over their spouses.”

According to Tee, safeguarding the welfare of minor children is paramount and they should be raised in an environment of compassion, feel loved and not become fodder during their parents’ tug-of-war battle.

“Therefore, lawmakers need to actively prevent these administrative or legal loopholes from being abused and avoid families breaking apart acrimoniously over similar matters,” she added. – May 15, 2024


Main pic credit: The Edge Malaysia 

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