Thursday, March 09, 2006

Artikel Marina Mahathir

Berikut teks asal Marina Mahathir, seharusnya muncul dalam kolumnya di The Star sempena Hari Wanita Sedunia (8 Mac), yang gagal diterbitkan akhbar berkenaan.

Apakah akhbar ini akan menerbitkannya? Sebelum itu, baca dulu di sini:

In 1948, one of humankind’s most despicable ideas, apartheid, was made into law in South Africa where racial discrimination was institutionalized.

Race laws touched every aspect of social life, including a prohibition of marriage between non-whites and whites, and the sanctioning of “white-only” jobs.

Although there were 19 million blacks and only 4.5 million whites in South Africa, the majority population were forced to be second-class citizens in their homeland, banished to reserves and needing passports to travel outside them, even within their own country.

It was only in 1990 that apartheid began to crumble and South Africans of all colours were finally free to live as equals in every way.

With the end of that racist system, people may be forgiven for thinking that apartheid does not exist anymore.

While few countries practice any formal systems of discrimination, nevertheless you can find many forms of discrimination everywhere.

In many cases, it is women who are discriminated against.

In our country, there is an insidious growing form of apartheid among Malaysian women, that between Muslim and non-Muslim women.

We are unique in that we actively legally discriminate against women who are arguably the majority in this country, Muslim women.

Non-Muslim Malaysian women have benefited from more progressive laws over the years while the opposite has happened for Muslim women.

For instance, since the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976, polygamy among non-Muslims was banned.

Previously men could have as many wives as they wanted under customary laws.

Men’s ability to unilaterally pronounce divorce on their wives was abolished and in its place, divorce happens by mutual consent or upon petition by either spouse in an equal process where the grounds are intolerable adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion of not less than two years, and living separately for not less than two years.

Compare that to the lot of Muslim women abandoned but not divorced by their husbands.
Other progressive reforms in the civil family law in the late 1990s were amendments to the Guardianship Act and the Distribution Act.

The Guardianship of Infants Act 1961 was amended to provide for equal guardianship for both father and mother, rather than the previous provision where only the father was the primary guardian of the children.

In contrast, the Islamic Family Law still provides for the father as the sole primary guardian of his children although the mother is now allowed to sign certain forms for her children under an administrative directive.

The Distribution Act 1958 was also amended to provide for equal inheritance for widows and widowers, and also granted children the right to inherit from their mothers as well as from their fathers.

Under the newly proposed amendments to the Islamic Family Law, the use of gender neutral language on the issue of matrimonial property is discriminatory on Muslim women when other provisions in the IFL are not gender-neutral.

Muslim men may still contract polygamous marriages, may unilaterally divorce their wives for the most trivial of reasons (including by SMS, unique in the Muslim world) and are entitled to double shares of inheritance.

These differences between the lot of Muslim women and non-Muslim women beg the question: do we have two categories of citizenship in Malaysia, whereby most female citizens have less rights than others?

As non-Muslim women catch up with women in the rest of the world, Muslim women here are only going backwards.

We should also note that only in Malaysia are Muslim women regressing; in every other Muslim country in the world, women have been gaining rights, not losing them.

In this country, our leaders claim to stand for all citizens.

Our Prime Minister is the Prime Minister of all Malaysians, our Ministers work for all Malaysians in their respective fields.

There are two exceptions to this.

The Minister for Islamic Affairs is obviously only for Muslims; even though some of the things he does affect others.

While the Minister for Women purports to work for all Malaysian women, even though not all Malaysian women benefit from that work.

Perhaps we should consolidate the apartheid of women in this country by having a Ministry for Non-Muslim Women which works to ensure that Non-Muslim women enjoy the benefits of the Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, a UN document which Malaysia signed and is legally bound to implement, and a Ministry for Muslim Women which works to gag and bind Muslim women more and more each day for the sake of political expediency under the guise of religion.

Today is International Women’s Day.

Unfortunately only about 40% of the women in this country can celebrate. The rest can only look at their Non-Muslim sisters in despair and envy.

Reaksi pada artikel Marina

Artikel Marina Mahathir di atas mendapat liputan agensi berita AFP, dan turut disiarkan oleh hari ini (9 Mac), selain diterbitkan dua hari berturut-turut di (sejak 8 Mac).

Dalam e-melnya kepada teman-teman tanggal 7 Mac 2006, Marina mencatat seperti berikut:

Dear all,

For the first time in some 17 years,
The Star is refusing to publishmy column tomorrow which is International Women's Day. They said thatthe powers-that-be there think it's too tough on the government andit's not the right platform etc, etc, ...

So I am sending it to you. You can pass it on wherever you like.

Dan e-mel 'panas' telah beredar dari satu tangan e-mel ke satu kantung e-mel yang lain. Hasilnya, ia singgah ke meja wartawan AFP dan hasilnya lagi pemimpin Muslimat PAS memberikan reaksinya seperti berikut:

Muslimat minta Marina henti tuduhan melulu

KUALA LUMPUR, 9 Mac (Harakah) – Individu atau pertubuhan bukan kerajaan (NGO) diingatkan supaya tidak menuduh secara melulu apabila bercakap mengenai hak-hak wanita Islam sebagaimana digariskan oleh al-Quran dan Sunah.

Ketua Penerangan Muslimat PAS, Dr Mariah Mahmood, berkata bagi sesiapa atau mana-mana pihak yang mahu memperjuangkan hak wanita perkara itu mesti berada dalam ruang lingkup syariat Islam.

“Jangan samakan hak wanita bukan Islam dengan wanita Islam. Tentunya hala tuju dan hak mereka tidak sama dengan wanita Islam dan mereka tidak akan faham akan agama kita,” katanya kepada Harakahdaily bagi mengulas kenyataan Marina Tun Mahathir yang disiarkan agensi berita antarabangsa, mendakwa wanita Islam Malaysia mempunyai nasib lebih buruk daripada wanita kulit hitam pada era aparteid Afrika Selatan.

Sehubungan itu kata Dr Mariah, sekiranya wujud persepsi mengelirukan mengenai hak wanita Islam, golongan ini sepatutnya dipertanggungjawabkan.

Mereka juga katanya, memburukkan Islam sehingga menjadikan kefahaman Islam sebenar tidak berada dalam lingkungan 'mainstream' (arus perdana).

Oleh sebab itu, ujarnya, jika ada di kalangan wanita negara ini tidak jelas dengan undang-undang keluarga Islam mereka boleh berjumpa dengan NGO Islam yang berpegang kuat dengan ajaran ahli Sunah Wal Jamaah.

Malah katanya, Dewan Muslimat PAS menerusi pasukan kumpulan perundangannya sedia membuka ruang kepada wanita yang bermasalah dengan undang-undang untuk mendapat panduan ataupun jalan yang betul.

Tuduhan Marina ke atas wanita Islam di negara ini yang kononnya nasib mereka lebih buruk daripada wanita kulit hitam semasa aparteid, membuktikan beliau mahu meletakkan wanita Muslim supaya mempunyai cara hidup sama seperti wanita bukan Islam.

Sedangkan katanya, keadilan dalam Islam bukan hanya untuk wanita tetapi untuk semua.

Pertikaian ini juga menggambarkan pihak terbabit masih tidak bersetuju dengan pindaan Akta Undang-undang Keluarga Islam yang diluluskan Parlimen baru-baru ini, katanya.

Oleh kerana berita AFP hari ini sukar dicapai di, kami menerbitkan kembali di bawah:

Marina says climate of fear over Islam discussion

A climate of fear surrounds discussion of Islam in Malaysia, the daughter of former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today after making a scathing attack on the treatment of Muslim women in her country.

Leading social activist Marina Mahathir said it was becoming difficult for anyone other than men with religious backgrounds to speak about Islam in Malaysia, where majority Muslims live alongside ethnic Chinese and Indians.

"This goes against the spirit of Islam. This sort of thing is what worries us, where the conservative voice is dominant and everyone else is afraid," she told AFP.

"So it's very scary," she added. "But if it's all shut up we'll find there's no more space at all and our lives will be taken over by some very conservative people."

Marina's comments came after delays in the publication of an article in which she compared the situation of Muslim women in Malaysia to that of South African blacks under apartheid.

"In our country, there is an insidious growing form of apartheid among Malaysian women, that between Muslim and non-Muslim women," she wrote for her regular Wednesday column in The Star daily, which has not yet published it.

Marina said she was prompted to write the article amid outrage over legislation passed last year which critics say will help Muslim men to take multiple wives and claim property after divorce.

Faced with a storm of protest, the government has agreed to put the Islamic Family Law on ice and subject it to a review.

"We are unique in that we actively legally discriminate against women who are arguably the majority in this country, Muslim women. Non-Muslim Malaysian women have benefited from more progressive laws over the years while the opposite has happened for Muslim women," the article said.

Marina said her editors were concerned over the sensitive nature of the column, but that she expected it to be printed in Friday's newspaper.

"The main thing for me is that newspapers seem to be running a bit scared on any issue relating to religion, especially with all the issues relating to the cartoons," she said, referring to the Danish caricatures controversy.

"Islam is a religion that allows for a lot of dialogue and discussion but what's happening is that the space for dialogue and discussion is narrowing all the time."

The Star said that the editor responsible for handling Marina's article was too busy to deal with it at the time.

Malaysia's population of 25 million is dominated by some 60 percent Muslim Malays. Chinese and Indians make up 26 percent and 8.0 percent respectively and they are free to practice their religion and culture.- AFP

Monday, February 13, 2006

Tidak setuju Tribune ditutup

KUALA LUMPUR, 11 Feb - Di tengah-tengah kemarahan umat Islam terhadap penyiaran semula kartun yang menghina Nabi oleh Sarawak Tribune, ada juga pihak yang tidak mahu tindakan melampau dikenakan ke atas akhbar yang menyiarkan semula kartun itu.

Bagi mereka, langkah penyiaran itu boleh jadi bertujuan untuk memberitahu pembacanya apa yang dimarahkan sangat oleh umat Islam tentang kartun itu.

Komunite Seni Jalan Telawi, sebuah badan NGO tidak bersetuju dengan desakan agar akhbar Sarawak Tribune ditutup memandangkan tidak semua petugas akhbar berkenaan bersalah dengan perbuatan biadab itu.

Menurut jurucakap komunite berkenaan, Hasmi Hashim, Komunite Seni Jalan Telawi (KsJT) membantah tindakan Kementerian Keselamatan Dalam Negeri (KKDN) yang menarik balik permit surat khabar Sarawak Tribune berhubung isu “Kartun Nabi Muhammad.”

Tindakan tersebut merupakan reaksi yang berlebihan (over reaction) sedangkan pihak Sarawak Tribune sudah dua kali memohon maaf, di samping Editor yang bertanggungjawab juga sudah dikenakan tindakan berhenti.

"Oleh itu, kami juga tidak bersetuju apabila pihak Sarawak Tribune juga dikatakan akan diheret ke mahkamah atas ‘kesalahan’ itu," katanya dalam satu kenyataan.

Mereka beranggapan bahawa Kerajaan melalui KKDN seharusnya tidak turut hangus dalam kemarahan dan sentimen semasa sungguhpun terdapat desakan daripada beberapa menteri kabinet, parti politik dan individu tertentu untuk membungkam surat khabar berkenaan.

Bagi mereka, penutupan Sarawak Tribune harus dilihat akan hanya merugikan proses mencapai kematangan dan pertanggungjawaban dalam tugas kewartawanan dan kebebasan media umumnya.

Lebih malang apabila desakan tersebut mudah ditafsir masyarakat sebagai tidak jujur dan hanya bermotif politik tatkala Sarawak akan berhadapan dengan pilihanraya negeri tidak lama lagi.

Kerajaan juga digesa memikirkan secara adil nasib sejumlah kakitangan Sarawak Tribune lainnya yang akan kehilangan kerja kerana tindakan KKDN. Tentulah ramai kakitangan badan media itu sama sekali tidak bersalah dalam isu ini.

"Seraya, kami juga sangat memandang berat dan kesal dengan sikap 'tidak berhemat' akhbar Denmark, Jyllands-Posten yang seolah-olah jelas berniat mempersenda sentiviti umat Islam.

"Langkah penerbitan sesuatu bahan media itu dengan alasan 'hak untuk mempersenda' adalah hujah yang sangat lemah dan sama sekali tidak bersesuaian dengan semangat dialog perabadan (civilizational dialogue) yang sedang rancak berkembang di seluruh dunia.

"Kami tegaskan, menipu dan menutar belit fakta atas tujuan apa sekalipun sama sekali tidak sejajar dengan makna kebebasan media," katanya.

Namun begitu, bagi mereka, penyiaran semula (re-publication) bahan-bahan yang dianggap “kontroversi” atau “sensitif” ada kalanya masih wajar dalam konteks menjelaskan sesuatu isu terdahulu.

"Dalam kes 'Kartun Nabi Muhammad,' kami percaya bahawa tindakan Sarawak Tribune itu tidak lebih hanya untuk memahamkan kepada pembaca mengapa umat Islam seluruh dunia begitu marah dengan tindakan surat khabar Jyllands-Posten," katanya dalam kenyataan itu.

Mereka juga menggesa agar umat Islam dan rakyat Malaysia mendalami perdebatan tentang kebebasan media, dan tidak menjadikan isu yang cuba diputarkan oleh Jyllands-Posten sebagai kayu ukur mutlak tentang konsep dan makna “kebebasan media.”

"Semoga Tuhan menunjukkan jalan, amin," kata mereka dalam kenyataan itu.

Sumber: 'Ada yang tidak setuju Sarawak Tribune ditutup',, Sabtu 11 Feb 2006

+ * + * +

Beberapa pautan (link) dari akhbar Denmark yang kontroversi, Jyllands-Posten:

> Penjelasan ketua editor, 'The editor and the 12 cartoons' (18 Disember 2005)
> Idea bagaimana kartun diterbitkan, 'The story behind the drawings'
> Editor rasa serba salah, 'The editor's dilemma' (5 Februari 2006)
> Kenyataan kepada umat Islam, 'Honourable fellow citizens of the Muslim world'
> Bagaimana ia bermula, 'Chronology'