MCA President Ong Ka Ting suggested today in his maiden speech as a backbencher in parliament some measures to address issues related to the religious rights of non-Muslims. The Sun today reported Ka Ting's saying:
“In situations involving non-Muslims who became a Muslim due to marriage, they should be allowed to renounce Islam when the marriage has ended.
“Similarly, if a child who was unilaterally converted to Islam by one parent without the consent of the other parent, the child should be allowed to maintain his or her own religion.
He also brought up incidences whereby statements were made that the proposed legal amendments will affect and protect both Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Urging the government to be transparent to avoid a repeat of the cases above, Ong said non-Muslims are not to be subjected to any form of Syariah law.
“And, for any disputes or overlapping areas between the jurisdiction of the civil and Syariah courts, civil laws must prevail,” he added.
Ong said in the case where one parent embraces Islam, the religion of a minor must be decided by both parents.
“Should a dispute on the child’s faith arise, the religion must remain as status quo until the child reaches the age of majority that is 18 years upon which the child decides.
“In the event the convert dies, the property comprised in the estate of the deceased prior to the date of conversion should be subject to the civil laws of inheritance and succession for the time in force,” he added.
If we can recall two years ago on 15 March 2006, his political brother Loh Seng Kok who was then the MP for Kelana Jaya spoke in Parliament on problems faced by non-Muslims in regards to places of worship, prayers recital guidelines and "imbalanced" history textbooks. Seng Kok's speech attracted strong reaction from his BN counterpart especially the Kelana Jaya Umno Youth division which stormed his service centre and demanded explanation from him.
Ka Ting and Seng Kok both had served as political secretaries to the then MCA president Ling Lion Sik. This means both of them having the same political father. While it was Ka Ting as the "Lao ta" (big brother) that gave the opportunity to Seng Kok to contest the Kelana Jaya parliamentary seat in 2004, it was also him that dropped his "Shih ti" (brother) as a candidate in the recent general election.
Anyway, the dropping of Seng Kok as a candidate was a blessing in disguise for him as the Kelana Jaya seat was won by PKR's Loh Gwo Burne a.k.a Videoman, beating the favorite candidate Lee Hwa Beng. At least Seng Kok knows that he was not rejected by the people of Kelana Jaya but his political brother!
As karma dictates it, now Ka Ting has to wear Seng Kok's shoes and speak out the same language loudly for the non-Muslims in parliament. Whether the situation will come full circle as two years ago awaits us in a week or two to see. The same sign already there. An Umno backbencher MP for Pasir Salak already ticked off Ka Ting in parliament. The next will be a visit from the Kulai Umno Youth to Ka Ting's service centre to confront him!
Hopefully by now Ong Ka Ting will understand why he need people like Loh Seng Kok to hold the frontline.