Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (Empower) is very much disturbed by the ruling made by the National Fatwa Council on Oct 23 which opined that females who dress and behave like males is forbidden in Islam.
On Nov 7, two groups protested against the fatwa . The outraged cries from some quarters about the protest highlights again how the Malaysian public is so willing to condone the use of violence to silence voices which are different from theirs.
Some even asked why the ISA was not used against these groups of protesters. These responses can most clearly be seen in the blogs.
We disagree that the fatwa affects only Muslim women. In the larger picture, an issue which infringes a person's rights is a matter of concern for all of us: Muslims, non-Muslims, men, women, the transgendered and the inter-sexed.
The right to self-determination, freedom of expression in the form of how we dress, speak and behave and our sexual rights are all in the bundle we call 'human rights'. Human rights are universal, inalienable, indivisible and inter-related.
In part, this is why Malaysia voices its concern about the situations in Burma and Palestine. We should speak up when we see developments which imperil the principle of justice.
To that end, we welcome and accept the offer from Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to organise a forum so that civil society and the National Fatwa Council may exchange views on certain issues.
Among the many areas of interest we may discuss are how does the council determine the issues on which to venture opinions; what is the consultation process with civil society prior to it arriving at an opinion; how do they reconcile differing opinions; and what is the process of amending or retracting an opinion previously rendered?
Finally, it is important for us to remember the preamble to the Rukun Negara which exhorts us to ensure a liberal approach to Malaysia's rich and diverse cultural traditions.
The writer is attached to Pusat Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (Empower).
Unrestrained power in your hands
For almost 20 years, Malaysiakini has stayed true to the cause of providing the Malaysian public with the truth. We believe that with unadulterated information, the people will obtain power to make informed decisions.
Decisions which lead to a healthy, robust nation - ours!
Keep the truth alive. Support your robust, independent media. You have the unrestrained power to do so.
Who says it's not our fault?
We aren’t trained to take responsibility.
Everytime we observe an injustice - and choose to keep mum - the prevalence of injustice becomes our fault.
Astute journalism paves the way for the public to be continuously furnished with the fastidious truth. You are continuously empowered to act and to uphold the integrity of the nation.
The Rakyat owns Malaysiakini
We choose to take a risk on independent media because we believe that only through independent reporting can one be NOT beholden to the interest of businesses or organisations. This allows us to really pursue the truth - aggressively.
Independent for 20 years.
The victorious people
In the light of holding the truth to power, Malaysiakini will continue to uphold its mission of providing credible news to its discerning public. Your support for Malaysiakini is always treasured as a testament of innate nationalism. Your victory is our history.
Quietly. Effectively. Says it all. Malaysiakini.
Speaking truth to power
When we embarked on this journey 20 years ago, we knew we would face intimidation, harassment, raids, arrests and perhaps even jail terms. We got into this venture with our eyes wide open.
The main reason we have survived this long - when many others have folded - is partly because we are prudent in our finances. But while we may be tightfisted in our budgeting, we do not hold back when it comes to speaking truth to power and holding power to account. And certainly, this new administration will not stop us from continuing to do so.