Unilateral conversions: Why the silence now, Azalina asks PH MPs

Former de facto law minister Azalina Othman Said is concerned the Special Court on Sexual Crimes Against Children will be shut down and cases referred to normal criminal courts. (Twitter pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Former de facto law minister Azalina Othman Said (BN-Pengerang) has challenged both Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo and Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran to table an amendment on unilateral conversions under the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) (Amendment) Act 2016.

The Pengerang MP said the duo were among the many MPs who used to often question the Barisan Nasional (BN) administration on not tabling the amendment.

“Each time Parliament sat, they would raise this matter. Be it inside or outside of the Dewan Rakyat, they would be talking about it.

“Now that you are in power, why don’t you table this amendment? Do it if you have time,” she said when debating the royal address.

Azalina was making a reference to the lack of time for MPs to debate matters in the Dewan Rakyat.

“There are 222 MPs. With the 20 minutes allocated to each MP, we will never be able to finish debating motions.”

She also raised concerns over the possible shutting down of the Special Court on Sexual Crimes Against Children, which was established by the former administration.

“I heard that these cases will be tried in the criminal courts.

“Sexual crimes involving children must be addressed separately. The judges and prosecutors must also be trained specifically to handle such cases.”

She asked if there were plans for the government to set up a commission for children as had been suggested before.

“This commission will act as a watchdog to monitor child-related issues,” she said.

Azalina said this issue was important following the recent marriage of an 11-year-old girl to a 41-year-old man in Kelantan.