Joint committee will look into conversion and custody issues

Joint committee will look into conversion and custody issues

PETALING JAYA - The Cabinet has agreed to form a joint committee to look into issues pertaining to conflicts between the civil and Syariah courts in conversion and custody cases.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nancy Shukri told The Star that she would be co-chairing the joint committee with her colleague Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom.

Nancy said relevant authorities that can advise the Government on matters of conversion and custody would be represented in the committee.

Further details of the committee would be discussed when Jamil Khir returns from overseas, she added.

"The Government is looking at the issue seriously and the committee will be formed as soon as possible.

"I proposed setting up the committee and the Cabinet immediately approved it (at its weekly meeting yesterday)," Nancy said.

She stressed that the welfare of children caught in the legal tussle was a priority.

Legal tussles involving Muslim converts and their non-Muslim former spouses have been an ongoing issue in Malaysia.

The latest case involves S. Deepa, 30, and her ex-husband Izwan Abdullah, 31.

On April 7, the Seremban High Court awarded custody of both their children to Deepa after deciding that the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act had jurisdiction over their civil marriage.

The court also granted an application by Deepa to annul their marriage because Izwan, who is now working with Yayasan Kasih Sayang, had embraced Islam.

Izwan had also converted both his children to Islam without Deepa's knowledge and had obtained custodial rights to them from the Syariah court.

On April 9, Izwan showed up at his ex-wife's house before allegedly taking his six-year-old son away forcibly.

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