Amendments to Marriage and Divorce Act postponed in Parliament

NST TEAM

KUALA LUMPUR: The amendments to the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 (LRA), meant to end unilateral conversions, was removed from the Order Paper today.

It is likely to resurface on the Order Paper in the July Dewan Rakyat session.

This led to M. Indira Gandhi, a Hindu who faced an eight-year ordeal after her three children were unilaterally converted to Islam by her ex-husband, expressing her disappointment with the delay.

"I was given the assurance that the Bill will be passed this time and I was hoping that at least something will happen this time.

"The fate of my children remains uncertain. I need my justice, it’s already been eight years, how many more years do I have to wait?” she told a press conference at the Parliament building today.

The Bill was deferred to give way to Pas President Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s private member’s bill to boost the powers of the Syariah Court, which was tabled this afternoon.

According to local daily Berita Harian, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said that the LRA amendments were deferred following consultation with lawyers.

During the media conference, Indira was accompanied by DAP’s Ipoh Barat Member of Parliament M. Kulasegaran who is also her lawyer in her battle to reverse the unilateral conversion of her three children, and members from Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG).

Kula had expressed concern over the decision and demanded an explanation on why the bill was deferred.

"This is a necessary bill for non-Muslims. Why are they preventing it?" he asked.