PETALING JAYA, Malaysia - A child cannot be converted to another religion based on the wishes of only one parent.
Both parents have the right to decide on the religion of a child under the age of 18, said constitutional expert Prof Shad Saleem Faruqi.
He said the word "parent" in Article 12 (4) of the Federal Constitution with regards to religion of an underage child should not be interpreted as either mother or father.
He said Section 2 (95) of the Eleventh Schedule of the Federal Constitution notes that "words in the singular include the plural".
"Therefore, both parents have the right to decide on the religion of their child," he said.
He also noted that there is no law in the world that provides a clear solution in deciding the religion of a child born to parents of different faith.
"There is no simple solution to such exceptional circumstances to resolve dispute between parents over the religion of a child," he said.
Instead, he said, the child should be allowed to decide on his or her own at the age of 18.