by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Thursday, 6th June 1991:
So long as Selangor Islamic Law Administration Enactment is not amendment, regulations restricting conversion of non-Muslims to those above 18 years can always be challenged in Shariah court as unlawful
On Sunday, the Selangor Mentri Besar, Tan Sri Mohamed Taib, stressed that the Selangor Islamic Law Administration (SILAE) would not amended and that Section 67 and 70 which violate the fundamental parental rights of non-Muslims to the unfettered custody, guardianship and control of their children and their freedom of religion would not be amended.
What is shocking is that the Selangor Assemblymen and the MCA national leadership have fully agreed to the SILAE remaining as the law of the state without the need for any amendment.
One Selangor MCA exco member has said that although the SILAE would not amend the Selangor State Government had orally
informed the State Islamic Council that there must be parental consent for the conversion of those below 18 years, and that conversion forms are being prepared to stipulate this.
This is completely unsatisfactory. So long as Selangor Islamic Law Administration Enactment in its present from is not amended, any regulations or forms restricting the conversion of non-Muslims below 18 years can be challenged in the Shariah court as unlawful and contrary to SILAE any time. This may not happen this year or next, but it can happen in five or ten years time.
I am very shocked that MCA leaders do not understand that provisions in a law can only be amended or varied by an amendment to that law, and that no subsidiary or subordinate rules could change its effect or validity at all.
This is like the Internal Security Act which grants powers of detention without trial, and the MCA claiming that there is an understanding or detention form that the ISA would not be used against opposition political leaders. But when opposition political leaders are detained under the ISA, its legality cannot be challenged or overthrown because of such understanding or detention form.
Similarly, so long as SILAE remains unamended, any Muslim in Selangor can insist tat the Selangor Islamic Council should accept the conversion of a non-Muslim below 18 without parental consent because this is the law in Selangor under SILAE.
Alternatively, the Selangor Islamic Council can change its mind one day and flout the Mentri Besarr’s suggestion that there should be no conversion of non-Muslims below 18 years without parental consent-and the Islamic Council can maintain that such conversion is valid because of the provisions of SILAE.
There is no other way to resolve the problem except by a clear-cut amendment of SILAE to provide that non-Muslims below 18 years cannot be converted to Islam without parental consent.
If other states can spell this provision clearly in their Islamic Law Administration Enactment, why can’t Selangor do so? Is it because the Selangor MCA Assemblymen and the MCA national leadership are afraid of the Selangor Mentri Besar?