PUTRAJAYA – The tabling of the bill to amend the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 or Act 164 has been deferred at the current Parliament sitting, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
Ahmad Zahid who is also Home Minister and Barisan Nasional whip, said the postponement was to ensure that the bill would not be in conflict with the fatwa (edict) issued on the matter and the Federal Constitution.
He said the amendments to Act 164 would be submitted to the Attorney-General for review with views obtained from religious experts, non-governmental organisations, political parties and individuals.
“Although the amendments had been studied before this, the government opines that the amendments have be perused again to ensure that it does not continue to be polemic and in the end, be a bane to the country as a whole.”
Ahmad Zahid said this when asked to comment on the status of Act 164 at a press conference after attending the Home Ministry’s monthly assembly, here, today.
Perak Mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria had recently urged the government to defer amending Act 164 as the amendments are deemed to be in conflict with Islamic law and the Federal Constitution, and also seen as belittling and disrespecting Islam.
Ahmad Zahid stressed that the government was not backtracking in this issue and was always committed to caring for the interest and feelings of all communities in the country.
Asked on the time to be taken to review the amendments to the Act, he said it depended on the Attorney-General to study the legal aspects with views from various people committed to seeing the Act amended.
Ahmad Zahid said the government also left it to the Attorney-General to resolve and finalise the matter before it would be tabled to the Cabinet for approval for tabling in Parliament.