The Women's Candidacy Initiative (WCI) condemns PAS' call to ban Sisters in Islam and to ‘rehabilitate' its members. The call is totally unacceptable for a democratic and secular Malaysia, and has no place in Malaysian politics.
We applaud individual politicians who have had the integrity and courage to speak out against this call. We hold in utmost respect political parties who have openly and unitedly criticised PAS' political integrity because of this call.
We should see this call as not just an attack on Sisters in Islam but an attack on all who willingly and courageously stand up against injustices, discrimination and violence and who uphold all freedoms and rights as guaranteed by our federal constitution and international human rights instruments.
The violence and discrimination perpetuated to try and ‘shut people up' is not something new and we, as citizens of Malaysia, have witnessed a myriad of strategies adopted towards this end.
This includes the political abuse of the Internal Security Act, the Printing Presses and Publications Act, and the Official Secrets Act.
The amendment to Article 121(1) of the federal constitution to place the judiciary under Parliament is also a gross violation of the rights of Malaysians to an independent judiciary and hence, has become an effective instrument for the selective silencing of certain voices.
Moral policing and legislation of religious beliefs are also part of a systematic strategy by the state and the existing powers in attempts to control Malaysian citizens - mind, body and soul - and to continuously ‘divide and rule'.
This to pit Malaysians against Malaysians, grossly dismissing ‘intent of the heart' in all of its importance. All of these despicable tactics and underhanded ploys need to be condemned as what they really are - desperate attempts in feeding their greed for power.
Open and constructive dialogue and debate are the only ways forward for a democratic Malaysia and to collectively uphold the protection and promotion of all our human rights.
All Malaysians have a right to freedom of expression and all Malaysians have a right to be free from all forms of discrimination, prejudices and violence. WCI makes a call to all Malaysians, to support Sisters in Islam by signing their online petition.
Malaysians will be heartened to see that Malaysians of all races, class, gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicities and religion, are signing this petition and claiming their right to stand up for the rights of their fellow Malaysians.
We encourage and call on all Malaysians to write letters of protest to the press or to their elected representatives in Parliament or to our right honourable prime minister.
We call on all Malaysians to continue to express their non-acceptance of all forms of discrimination, prejudice and violence, and to send a clear message to all our leaders who are elected representatives of the people that we will not be silenced.
The writer represents the Women's Candidacy Initiative.