RSS Subscription

A TWO-thirds majority in Parliament is needed to amend the constitution in relation to the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) (Amendment) Bill (LRA), said Prime Minister Najib Razak.

“We need maturity and two-thirds majority to change the Constitution but I do not have this,” Najib said when addressing the issue during a National Transformation 2050 (TN50) dialogue with women in conjunction with National Women’s Day.

He was responding to a question from a representative from the National Council  of Women’s Organisations Malaysia (NCWO), who requested for the government to bring back Clause 88A of the LRA andt for it to be tabled in the upcoming Parliamentary sitting.

Clause 88A states that the religion of the child should remain in the religion he or she was raised in before one parent converted to Islam and can choose his or her own religion at the age of 18.

“The issue of 88A is a critical issue (involving women) and we want it to be tabled again in the next Parliamentary sitting in September,” said the delegate from NCWO.

On August 7, the government withdrew the LRA, which was scheduled for its second reading after being tabled for the first time in November last year.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Azalina Othman reportedly withdrew the bill to avoid contradictions with the constitution.

On the same day it was withdrawn, Azalina said in a statement that the new bill would be tabled without Clause 88A.

She said the fresh amendments would also be in line with the courts’ decisions on the interpretation of the Article 12(4) of the Federal Constitution, which states that the religion of a person under the age of 18 shall be decided by his parent or a guardian.

The bill was then passed on August 10 minus Clause 88A, which drew criticism among opposition leaders.

Azalina said the amendment aimed to provide room for couples who had converted to Islam after getting married and couples where one partner had converted to Islam, to file for divorce in the civil court.

She added that the amendment did not deny the rights of a person in the shariah courts but instead encourages a person to be more responsible by divorcing the spouse in civil court. – September 4, 2017.

Comments are closed.