Thursday, January 12, 2006

PM: Laws Need To Be Clear On Religious Conversion

Malaysian Premier Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said that the issue of religious conversion needed to be spelt out clearly in the Constitution and other laws to prevent confusion among Malaysians.

There were indications that such confusion was happening and the Constitution and other laws were not clear on the matter. Many feel it is necessary to clarify the question in the laws and Constitution to avoid further confusion.

However, he said, whatever action that would be taken regarding the matter should be done with care so as not to violate the beliefs of any community and the followers of other religions.

The Premier was asked for his comment on the case of Mount Everest climber M. Moorthy alias Mohammad Abdullah, whose death resulted in a controversial tussle between his widow and the Federal Territory Religious Department for the right to bury his body.

Moorthy, who died on Dec 20, 2005, was eventually buried by the department on Dec 28 after the Syariah High Court ruled he was a Muslim and the civil High Court decided it had no jurisdiction to intervene in the case.

Abdullah also said the right of Malaysians to follow the religion of their choice must be respected and urged them to practice mutual respect and cooperation to maintain harmony in the country.

We must handle whatever problems that arise with care. We don't allow emotions to be whipped up over religion and race.

He further said he was looking into the issue and hoped such a problem would not recur.

What Pak Lah mean is we must ensure that everyone is aware of their rights on the matter of religious conversion, in and out of Islam and its implications. But the law is already clear......?

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