Malaysia on 7 July 2013 has withdrawn a bill which allows one parent to give consent for the religious conversion of a child.
The controversial bill was withdrawn following an objection that it discriminated against non-Muslim minorities in the country. All significant amendments from the Bill would also be withdrawn.
The move comes after two minor ethnic Indian Hindu children in Malaysia had been converted to Islam without their mother's consent, triggering protests from the various groups.
The Malaysian Cabinet made the decision to withdraw the Administration of the Religion of Islam Bill during its meeting on 6 July 2013 which stressed concerns from various quarters including from within the ruling coalition of Barisan Nasional party.
The Bill was tabled for the first reading in Parliament on 26 June 2013. The proposed legislation must not be rushed and should be given time for in-depth debate.
Provisions under the Bill
The bill allows a person below the age of 18 to convert to Islam if one parent or guardian consents to the conversion. Multi-ethnic Malaysia has a 60 per cent majority Malay population, who are all Muslims.
It is worth mentioning here that the country's 27 million people also include 25 per cent ethnic Chinese who are Buddhists or Christians and Eight per cent ethnic Indians who are mostly Hindus.