PAS’ election gimmick

comments     Mariam Mokhtar     Published     Updated

If you told your wife, “Dear, I’m going to Hadyai for a conference and to play golf,” you would probably be clobbered over the head with a frying pan, and have your passport confiscated.

If you had said, “I’m going to Kelantan for a conference and probably unwind on the golf course,” she would think nothing of it and say to herself, “It’s Kelantan. What could he possibly get up to, over there?”

Actually, there’s plenty to alarm her!

Last Friday, the PAS-led government advised Muslim men that they need not trek across the border to get married, but instead stop-off in Kelantan to get hitched.

Incredibly, the news about polygamy was delivered by Kelantan’s Family Development, Welfare and People’s Wellbeing committee chairperson Mumtaz Md Nawi.

She said that the Kelantan state authorities would simplify the process of marriage for both single and married men. Is she unaware of the implications?

The marriage oath is “Till death do us part”. With Kelantan making it easy for men to enter into a polygamous marriage, newlyweds should realise that the new marriage oath will be “Till a younger woman comes along”.

In one fell swoop, the rights which Malay women have fought for since the end of the 19th Century; like the right to an education, to be financially independent, to work and equality with men, will be lost.

At one time, Muslim marriage laws offered some protection to women. PAS and the Department of Islamic Advancement of Malaysia (Jakim) have helped to dismantle this.

Yesterday’s Malay women were more courageous and were undaunted by the many challenges which life threw at them. Today’s Malay women are happy to be led by the nose.

The Malay women who have excelled in many fields will recoil at my remarks, but where are their voices to drown out those of the misogynists? Are they too proud to help their sisters who have no voice? Are they too selfish because they have made it good and their sisters have not? Are they too busy?

Look at recent events.

When a lorry driver was assaulted by a Datuk’s employees, the Small and Medium Scale Entrepreneurs Alliance of Malaysia (Ikhlas) came out to support him.

When two teenage girls were gang-raped by 30 men in Kelantan, where were the protests by ordinary women demanding a thorough investigation and justice? It is alleged that the case is now closed for lack of evidence. Really?

The Malays should unite to voice their disgust at the Kelantan move.

Mumtaz cited another reason for making polygamous marriages easy. She said, “This is to encourage the birth of more Muslim children. The Kelantan government will assist those men, who intend to have more children by taking second, third or fourth wives.”

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