Forward    Feedback    

Conversion of religion should be allowed in upholding freedom of worship in multi-religious Malaysia

Media Statement
by Ronnie Liu

(Petaling Jaya, Saturday): Both Madam Ser and Madam Shui have converted to Muslim as a pre-requisite for marrying with their Muslim husbands in the seventies and eighties. They have divorced for some years now and wanting to reconvert to their former religion. Both of them have two children each, and are all Muslim under the present hukum syara.

Madam Ser has a daughter (29) and a son (26). And Madam Shui has two sons (25 and 24). All four of them have never practiced Islam in their lives. Some of them are now facing the difficulty of marrying with their loved ones. The compulsory conversion to Islam in this country (which is not practiced in Indonesia and many other Muslim countries) has becoming a stumbling block to their marriage.

All of them want to reconvert to their former religion or leave their religion, of which they have never practiced for a day. But they are not allowed to do so under the present hukum syara.

Last month, we have a case where a divorcee wanted to reconvert to her former religion. She too was not allowed to do so in order to start a new life.

A new set of rules and regulations in line with the Federal Constitution to regulate conversion of religion and to ensure freedom of religion in this multi-religious society is very much needed now. We do not want to witness another Moorthy tussle. The current Clause 121 (1A) must be reviewed in the interest of Malaysians of different faith.

We were also advised by legal experts in this field that certain efforts have been made to convince the Government of the day to amend the present Islamic rules and regulations to allow conversion of religion and greater freedom of religion in this country.

The Consultative Council of Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism has also presented their views on the subject matter to the Government.

In a statement issued last week, the Minister in the Prime Minister Department Nazri Aziz has promised to look into the matter concerning conversion of religion.

We reiterate that there must be freedom of joining and leaving any religion so long as the decision was made by the individuals on their own free will.

After all, religious beliefs are personal matters between God and the individuals. No departments or state authorities should intervene in such matters.

We believe that the setting up of IFC (Interfaith Commission) is good for a Multi-religious country like ours. IFC, if set up, could certainly help in resolving cases involving the different faiths in this country.

Let's celebrate true freedom of religion in this country in the spirit of social harmony and mutual respect of each other's religion.

We will present our case to the Prime Minister at a most appropriate time in the near future.


* Ronnie Liu Tina Khiew, DAP NGO Bureau Chief

Your e-mail:

Your name: 

Your friend's e-mail: 

Your friend's name: