MCCBCHST: Our family lives are no longer secure

The recent sidestep decision of the Federal Court in Shamala’s case prompted the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism to express its despair over the inaction by the authorities in addressing these serious issues. The press statement issued by its current President is reproduced below from the MCCBCHST website Harmony Malaysia.


Tan Cheow Hong. Indira Gandhi. Nedunchelian. Shamala. Genga Devi.

These 5 names should be seared in all our memories as symbols of the deep sense of insecurity Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs and Taoist now feel in Malaysia.

All these 5 people have had their family lives totally disrupted when their children were converted to Islam without their knowledge or consent by a disgruntled spouse.

All 5 have had to battle the government servants who act as the Islamic religious authorities in Malaysia and with lawyers from the Attorney General’s Chambers who argue that they must go to the Syariah court (despite being non Muslim) in order to exercise their constitutional rights to raise their children in their own religion.

All 5 have had to battle with Judges within the civil court system who constantly abdicate their constitutional oath to protect and preserve the Federal Constitution, and their role in a democracy such as ours to protect the rights of minorities.

The recent decision of the Federal Court is just another example of this.

The MCCBCHST has since 2004 made numerous calls to numerous governments. We have presented memoranda, made press statements and written letters to the editor.

Together with other members of civil society, we have had candle light vigils and held roadshows. The police stopped the roadshows because of the violent actions of extremists from the other side who sought to prevent us from speaking.

We have had meetings with Prime Ministers, Cabinet Ministers, Parliamentarians, State Governments (from both sides of the political divide), politicians and civil servants.

The Cabinet boldly announced its decision on 21 April 2009 that the religion of a child under 18 years would continue to be the religion of that child at the time of his/her birth, and that children cannot be converted without the joint consent of both parents. But sadly to this date we have not seen the implementation of that decision.

We have read of calls by many Islamic scholars that children cannot be converted to Islam. The Director General of IKIM said in the Star of 12 June 2009 that “…. the call to Islam is a willing and conscious submission, hence it cannot be forced upon anybody including the conversion of a child or minor to Islam”. Despite this, we are inundated with cases of children – some as young as a 11 month old baby still being breastfed by her mother, and 3 to 6 years old children – being converted by one parent and then taken away from the other parent.

The decision of the judges of the Federal Court led by Chief Justice Tun Zaki Azmi to dismiss Shamala’s case on a mere technicality rather than determine the five constitutional questions she had raised is of much concern. If not the Federal Court who else should the non converting spouse turn to in order to protect and uphold their basic rights enshrined in the Federal Constitution.

The above events have led to most Malaysian losing their faith in government, the civil service and the Judiciary.

We will turn to Prayer and seek recourse through all lawful means to right these wrongs so glaringly being committed with impunity.

The MCCBCHST urges all its component members, and all Malaysians, to include in their prayers each week a prayer that

  • our lawmakers, civil servants and judges to recall and administer their duties in accordance with their oaths of office to defend the Constitution
  • that our fellow Malaysians – Tan Cheow Hong, Indira Gandhi, Nedunchelian, Shamala and Genga Devi – get to bring up their children and to educate their children in their own respective religions, and exercise their freedom of religion

Rev Dr Thomas Philips

President, MCCBCHST

23 November 2010

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7 Responses to MCCBCHST: Our family lives are no longer secure

  1. Rev Dr Thomas Philips, President, MCCBCHST

    How about you guys stepping forward as independent candidates on the below 3 items :

    1) Freedom from Apartheid/Fascism
    2) Freedom from Religious-Persecution/Religious-Supremacy.
    3) Equality for all ethnicities and faiths in all aspects of policy, Law and Constitution.

    I’m sure a religious person would be more credible than a decades old seat sequestering/oligarchic political careerist like Lim Kit SIang or Samy Vellu. Don’t just whine about how bad things are, stand for candidacy! It’s your country too and there seem to be no laws against doing so, though it is rather inappropriate ethically, having no choice, MCCBCHST should offer the voters an alternative to Barisan or Pakatan.

    You have the funds and the popularity, so help emancipate from the apartheid, though please give the secularists and pleasure seekers space of their own too. Various equivalents of Hudud will be no more popular or justifed for imposition on anyone who does not follow the deity of your choice.

    You have the funds and the popularity, field independent candidates for the people please!

    “Bishop/MahaGuru/Abbot/GrandMaster runs for candidacy in X Constituency!” How about it? You only have one life so do something nice with that ‘agedness’ and ‘holiness’ and give some hope, set an example for the young. One can be all holy again after the enemies of mankind have been removed from power and bad laws repealed and liberalized. It is your duty to act against EVIL!

  2. Jeya Kumar

    Gamma Ray,

    “Its time to take out guns…”

    I think you are on the wrong blog.
    I think the people on this blog have enough “ammunition” in the eloquence of speech and the sharp edge of our pen (or in this case, our keyboard!) to carry on the fight in the proper forum and right manner.
    The ultimate “war” will be on polling day when the thoughts, consience and choice of the voting public is put to the test.
    Have faith. The Rakyat are awake and aware of the realities of what is transpiring.
    The numbers are growing slowly but surely.
    The oppressors may succed in the coming “battle” at the next GE, but I strongly believe that come the 14th GE, the Rakyat will show the oppressors what they think of their manouverings, wheelings and dealings and heavy handed tactics.
    We will not be bullied.


  3. nah-nah

    kaladevi, the reality is that that is exactly what the religious authorities has done on many occasions….kidnap those illegally converted.Whatever choice of word or language they may choose to use, that is what happened. Are you still in slumber about that?

    If this country has any real respect for the recommended institutions at all, such religious abuses would not have happened. Knowing that this country has no respect for other religion, those caught in such dilemma do not have much choice if they wish for their off-spring to remain faithful to their religion of choice.

    Waky waky kaladevi!

  4. kaladevi,

    * I suggest she just ‘kidnap’ her kids & run for her life *

    OMG thats not the way and like an admission of guilt. Running is an admission of guilt. But maybe seek asylum with a neighbouring friendly country or contact international human rights groups for some sort of legal aegis and platform to highlight concerns.

    The UN office or even the Indian Embassy in Malaysia, could be a good place to contact for a start. Malaysia being a signatory of the Human Rights Charter or not wanting to be seen as oppressing minorities will need to toe certain ethical lines.

  5. kaladevi

    The non muslim can argue her rights but if at the end of the day
    it is just waste of time, I suggest she just ‘kidnap’ her kids & run for her life(hoprfully there will be people willing to help her). Otherwise just leave the kids with the recalcitrant spouse & move on. It will hurt but time is the greatest healer. I really believe that at the end of the day each & everyone of us has to finally meet our maker & let us see how the recalcitrant spouses will fare in front of God Almighty. We dont say ‘Almighty’ in vain coz there is a whole lot of meaning in just that one word. God blesses & helps those who helps themselves without hurting others. OSR

  6. Gamma Ray

    Its time to take out the guns…..No point talking…..

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