Press Statement: IGP must serve all Malaysians, or else resign
14 April 2014
Lawyers for Liberty is appalled at IGP Khalid Abu Bakar’s refusal to act against Muslim convert Izwan Abdullah when he snatched his son from his estranged wife S.Deepa who was recently granted custody by the Seremban High Court.
The IGP should not cite ‘conflicting jurisdictions’ as a reason behind the police’s inaction as it was clear that Izwan’s action was criminal in nature despite the Shariah Court granting him custody.
The decision of the Shariah Court was ultra vires and bad in law as under the Federal Constitution (Second List in the 9th Schedule), it is clear that the Shariah Court does not have jurisdiction over non Muslims.
Further, Izwan and Deepa was married under civil law, the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976. Therefore all issues of divorce, custody of children and other matters can only be decided under the same Act and cannot be circumvented by one spouse converting into Islam.
This abduction was not an isolated incident, as there have been other cases of a spouse embracing Islam after marriage and secretly converting the children without the non-Muslim spouse’s knowledge in order to gain custody via the Shariah Court.
By the police turning a blind eye to Izwan’s criminal action, it sends the wrong message that the police are not willing to protect the rights of a non-Muslim spouse in the event of custodial dispute.
We remind the IGP that the Federal Constitution is still the supreme law of Malaysia and it is vital that all citizens, regardless of ethnicity or religion are treated equally, a right guaranteed under Article 8.
Laws and court judgments will be rendered meaningless if the police were able to pick and choose which ones to enforce. This will lead to a breakdown in law and order and citizens ultimately taking matters into their owns hands if they were to lose confidence in the police’s ability to act impartially and fairly.
We call upon the IGP to respect the rule of law and to apply it equally without discriminating on ethnicity or religion. If the IGP feels that he is unable to defend the rights of all Malaysians, and not just Malaysian Muslims, then he is not fit to lead the police force and should resign.
Released by:
Michelle Yesudas
Legal/Campaign Coordinator
Lawyers for Liberty
14 April 2014
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