The confusion that is politically-driven Malaysia


Ahmad Mustapha Hassan, The Ant Daily

S Deepa, a mother at the centre of a custodial dispute, on April 7, 2014 was awarded the custody of her two children by the High Court but two days later her Muslim convert husband abducted their six-year-old son from her house. She suffered some bruises when trying to stop the abduction.

The police, however, would not act on this case as according to the IGP and the Jelebu OCPD, the husband too had obtained a custody order but his was from the Syariah High Court.

The police seemed to have sided with the order of the Syariah High Court and would not act on the matter of the seizure of the son by the husband.

Surprisingly, this was what the Jelebu OCPD said, “As far as we are concerned, we cannot investigate Izwan Abdullah, the husband, (previously known as N Viran,) for abducting his son. We have to respect and obey the orders issued by both courts.”

So the confusion was created. He only acted on the Syariah Court order but he would not act on the decision of the High Court. Yet he maintained that the police was bound by the decisions of both courts.

But after complaints and criticism by the public and also the rebuke made by the former minister in charge of legal affairs and now Minister of Tourism Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz that this was a “clear cut” case of kidnapping, the police then made a u-turn concerning the case.

This has not been the only case where confusion was created. There had been several. In 2002, there was a case of a similar nature. But this was slightly different as the civil court refused to hear the case, saying as the children were Muslims, only the Syariah Court could decide on the children’s custodial rights.

The confusion arises as the government is mute on the matter. It seems that conversion of minors needs only the consent of one parent if we go by the act of the Syariah Court. But there was a cabinet decision on the matter which said that the religion of the children should be the religion of the parents when they married. In the current case both were not Muslims. The cabinet decision is there but not enforced.