Tuesday, May 3, 2016

BARU BIAN: POLICY DECISION ON CONVERSION CASES NEEDED


PRESS STATEMENT
3 MAY 2016 
I was glad to read the caretaker Chief Minister’s announcement that the PM would instruct the NRD to withdraw their appeal in the Rooney anak Rebit case after the matter was brought up at our press conference yesterday.  However, this should not be an isolated and one-off case which is resolved during this campaign period.
There are many other conversion cases that deserve the same attention from Adenan and the PM, if they are sincere in upholding the people’s rights to freedom of religion. 
As an example, in the case of Sharon Fiona Braoh @ Nur Shafiqah Abdullah, a Consent Order was obtained from the court that JAIS and the Majlis Agama Islam would state in writing that they had no objection for her to be released from the religion of Islam.
Despite being served with these letters, the NRD refused to amend Sharon Fiona’s IC and insisted that she obtain a letter of release from the Syariah Court. However, the Syariah Judiciary Department stated that they had no jurisdiction to issue the Sijil Peristiharan Keluar Islam as required by the NRD.
Sharon Fiona is caught in this game that is played by the NRD. There are several other cases where converts are trying go back to their former religions but are faced with many barriers. The PM must announce a policy that no Malaysian should be forced to remain in any religion against his or her will, and the caretaker Chief Minister must reassure Sarawakians that their freedom of religion is not merely illusory.
I suggest that a special council be set up to deal with matters of religion so that parties will not have to go through the long and emotionally draining court process to assert their rights to personal beliefs.
Baru Bian
N81 Ba’ Kelalan

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