BERITA DAILY LETTER: From P Waythamoorthy, via: e-mail

Hindraf views the recent statement by Health Minister and MIC president Dr S Subramaniam that the Attorney-General was of the opinion that the new section 88A proviso will involve a constitutional argument, and suggested that the constitutional concern is addressed first before this section could be included, is utter rubbish

Does the minister even know the process on how a bill comes by after passing through the parliamentary draftsperson in the AG’s office?

It has to be reviewed by the AG, then passed on to the cabinet for its approval before it becomes a bill to be tabled in the parliament.

If at all the constitutional question was an issue, why was it not addressed since 2009 when the original intention of the cabinet directive came into the picture to end unilateral conversion?

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Azalina Othman Said said: “The amendments needed to be done so that it would not be in conflict with the provisions under the Federal Constitution.”

The constitutional issue relating to Article 12(4) is just an eyewash. What constitutional issue is she talking about?

In custody and guardianship although basic definition for defining custody and religion of the minor is governed under Article 12(4) of the Federal Constitution and section 5 of Guardianship of Infant Act 1961 whereby consent of both parent are required, this has been totally hijacked through the amendment of Article 121 in the Federal Constitution where operation of judiciary has become subservient to legislature and destroyed the independence of the judiciary.

This has led to the reluctance of the civil courts to make a firm stand on the civil rights of the aggrieved non-Muslim party involving converted Muslim partner.

If there is any amendments sought in the constitution, it should be Article 121 which should be reverted to pre-1988 position to re-establish the independence of judiciary.

The argument of parent meaning singular does not hold any water as the Interpretation Act 1948 & 1967 clearly indicates otherwise and further the term parent in Article 12 (4) must necessary means both the father and mother.

To construe otherwise would mean depriving, for example, a mother of her rights as a parent to choose the religion of the infant under Article 12 (4). If the father unilaterally decides on the religion to be followed by the infant would invariably mean depriving the other of the constitutional right under Article 8 of the Federal Constitution.

Further the Interpretation Acts of 1948 and 1967 which generally apply to all Acts of Parliament, state that words in the singular shall include the plural, then the constitution ought to have been interpreted in the like manner.

The reluctant and weak judiciary contributes to the injustices against non-Muslims.

All these excuses by senior cabinet members are nothing but a political charade to ensure that they continue to reign at the expense of the public‘s welfare.

There was no real intention from the inception ever to pass a bill to stop unilateral conversion.

P Waythamoorthy is the chairperson of Hindraf