KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 13, 2016:

The Cabinet should implement its April 22, 2009 decision that there should be no unilateral conversion of children.

Failing this, Cabinet members should resign, according to DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang.

Lim, in a statement today, said there was no need for the Cabinet to reinvent the wheel but just do what was right.

“They must follow their earlier decision that there should be no unilateral conversion of children. Children of parents, even if one of the parents chooses to convert to Islam, must continue to be raised in the common religion at the time of the marriage.

“They should demonstrate that it is not only a Cabinet of compassion and humanity but also of justice and competence by directing the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar and all relevant agencies to ensure that within 48 hours, Indira Gandhi should be able to re-unite with her daughter whom she has not seen for seven long years,” he said in a blog post today.

Lim said that our forefathers would have been utterly shocked at the injustices suffered by Indira Gandhi for seven years in our country.

“Nobody would believe if he or she were told when Malaya achieved independence in 1957 or Malaysia was formed in 1963 that under the nation’s Constitution, laws and system, a mother could be forcibly separated from her child for seven long years.

“The first three Prime Ministers, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Abdul Razak Hussein and Tun Hussein Onn, would be horrified that such an injustice could be perpetrated in Malaysia under our Constitution, laws and system of governance, and I have no doubt that as Prime Minister they would have acted to ensure that injustice would be ended immediately and not mar Malaysia and our system of governance.”

He said he supported the statement by the Society for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham) released by Ivy Josiah, Datuk Kuthubul Zaman Bukhari and Datuk A. Vaithilingam yesterday on the Indira Gandhi issue, which should be tabled in today’s Cabinet meeting for reference and guidance of the ministers.

“Proham fully supports every individual’s absolute right to profess the religion of their choice and the law must both offer redress to the non-converting spouse whose rights are taken away by the converting spouse as well as uphold the rights of affected family members.

“While a child’s best interest should be the central consideration in decisions involving his welfare, the authorities should not ignore Malaysia’s signing of two international conventions – UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) – relating to women and children and which impose an obligation to governments to ensure each parent has equal rights and responsibilities to raise their children.”

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