by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Sunday, 11th February 1990:
Call on MCA to give full support to the nation-wide MCCBCHS campaign to reject the imposition Islamic Laws on non-Muslim Malaysians by ensuring that the Selangor Islamic Law Administration Enactment is amended in next Selangor Assembly
I advise the MCA President, Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik, and other MCA Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries, MPs, State Executive Councillors and Assemblymen to study In detail the 40-page Policy Statement by the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Sikhism (MCCBCHS) on “Why MCCBCHS rejects the application of the Syariah (Islamic Laws) on Non-Muslism”.
The MCA Ministers and national leaders should all study and master this important 40-page document of the MCCBCHS because as a component party of the Barisan Nasional Government, the MCA is also responsible for many of the government actions which had reinforced worries and concerns by non-Muslim Malaysians about the erosion of their constitutional right to the freedom to profess and practise one’s religion.
It is precisely because of these mounting worries and concerns about he encroachments of Islamic Laws into their religions and lives that has caused the MCCBCHS to launch a nation-wide campaign to reject the imposition of Islamic Laws on non-Muslim Malaysians. This campaign comprises a nation-wide mass signature campaign and a three-day nation-wide prayers ending today.
The Selangor Islamic Law Administration Enactment has been cited as one of the many reasons why the MCCBCHS has felt it necessary to launch such a nation-wide campaign.
This is a section in the MCCBCHS document which MCA national leaders should give special attention:
“Part VII, Section 67 (of the Selangor Enactment) states ‘For the purpose of this Par, a person who is not a Muslim may convert to Islam if he has attained the age of majority according to Hukum Syara’s (baligh) and is of sound mind.’ Concretely, this means that a boy of about 15 years old and a girl, who has had her first menstruation which could be as early as 10 years old, can be converted to Islam without his/her parent’s or guardian’s consent. The MCCBCHS holds that this is unconstitutional because the Federal Constitution in Art.12 backed by the Guardianship of Infant Act, 1961 gives the right of choice of religious belief of child under the age of 18 years to either his/her parents or guardians.
“Section 70 states that ‘If , at the moment of conversion to Islam, a muallaf (the convert) whether male or female, has any natural child who has not attained the age of majority according to Hukum Syara’ (baligh), the child becomes converted to Islam At the same moment.’ Concretely it means that when one of the parents converts, all his/her children under the age of majority according to Islamic Law, automatically become Muslim. Not only is this unconstitutional, it is also a blatant violation of human rights. Has the unconverted party no right to his/her children? Such injustice is unbecoming of civilized humanity. The MCCBCHS has protested and has seen the MCA and other political party leaders on this matter. As of this moment, this issue has not been resolved.”
I therefore call on the MCA President, Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik, and the entire MCA national leadership to give full support to the nation-wide campaign by the MCCBCHS to reject the imposition of Islamic Laws on non-Muslim Malaysians, and as a first step, by ensuring that Sections 67 and 70 of the Selangor Islamic Law Administration Enactment are repealed in the next Selangor Assembly meeting.
Secondly, the four MCA Ministers should table the 40-page Policy Statement of the MCCBCHS at the Cabinet for a full discussion by the Cabinet.