Archive for category women

A woman’s letter to the men of Malaysia

By Aidila Razak
Malaysiakini
Mar 3, 2015

COMMENT Dear men of Malaysia,

In 2012, a woman in Delhi was brutally raped and murdered in a bus after an evening out with a friend. Her rapist is now on death row.

The story of this young woman, Jyoti Singh, 23, resonated across the globe – and when it hogged Malaysian social media, I didn’t read a single comment saying she had it coming.

Her rapist and murderer however thinks she did.

Awaiting the hangman’s noose, Mukesh Singh in a BBC interview which will air this Sunday said that Jyoti, whom he and his friends took turns to savage was to blame for the injuries which led to her death.

A woman out at night is inviting trouble, he said, and when it happened she should have just laid there instead of fighting back.

I would like to think that you, the Malaysian male, do not think the same, but reading the reactions that came out of a recent Friday sermon about women who don’t cover their aurat does make me wonder. Read the rest of this entry »

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Dear Ridhuan Tee

― Shafiqah Othman
The Malay Mail Online
FEBRUARY 17, 2015

FEBRUARY 17 ― Your blatant disrespect for other faiths (or people) increasingly infuriates me and I cannot help but finally pen this down. I have, in many occasions, dismissed your rude statements, but it has come to a point where I no longer can stand your nonsense.

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for freedom of speech. By all means, go ahead, run amok and pollute Malaysian minds with your ignorance, but that also means I should be able to speak against the trash that I think you are spouting.

First, what you said on women’s bodies was just plain disturbing.

You say that women’s bodies attracts rapists because “the logic is simple”. Women’s bodies are arousing and alluring. Then you go on to say “If it’s fated that many of those who cover their ‘aurat’ are raped, then it’s fate”, and the only reason loosely-clothed woman are more commonly raped is because their article of clothing is more easily removed as compared to tight clothing.

Are you serious? The fallacies in your logic are mind-blowing, sir! I don’t mean to be the one to point this all out to you, but please: Read the rest of this entry »

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Baggy clothes didn’t stop my rapist, victim tells Ridhuan Tee

The Malay Mail Online
February 24, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 24 — Baggy jeans and a loose T-shirt did not prevent her sexual assault in 2001, rape survivor Rosheen Fatima told controversial columnist Ridhuan Tee Abdullah who claimed that women’s bodies attract rapists.

In an article titled “My body is not an invitation” published on the website of women’s magazine Elle Malaysia, Rosheen insisted that there is no justification for rape and said Tee was merely engaging in victim-blaming.

“Shame on you, Ridhuan Tee. Put the blame where it belongs. There is only one thing that causes rape: rapists,” Rosheen said.

“Rapists make a choice to rape. There is no invitation, no fate that intervenes. It is a choice to rape. A choice to brutally assault and traumatise a fellow human being. There is no justification. Ever,” she added. Read the rest of this entry »

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Ridhuan, if this happens to your little girl would you fault her body for rape?

― Zhu Mohammad
The Malay Mail Online
February 27

FEBRUARY 27 ― Su-Lyn, I read your column and am outraged by Ridhuan Tee’s comment that a woman’s body on its own is an invitation to rape. I feel compelled to tell my story; like you, I didn’t manage to report it to the police because it happened when I was 12 years old.

Like a lot of kids at that age who are attached to their grandparents, I was to my grandfather on my father’s side, who I think at that time was about 67 or so.

I was sort of his favourite grandchild, and I enjoyed his attention. We used to sleep together, with my other siblings too.

One thing that he used to do when i was laying down next to him was that he would fondle my intimate areas. But I didn’t understand any of it, and didn’t resist.

It was this particular night, when I was awakened as he was forcing himself on me. I froze, and let the whole thing go on until he was finished. I don’t know whether he was aware that I was awake at that time, because soon after he went to sleep. Read the rest of this entry »

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Don’t ever use religion to justify caning women

Syerleena Abdul Rashid
The Malaysian Insider
30 January 2015

So apparently, there are some men who think that it is completely acceptable to cane women as a measure to reprimand her of her duties as a woman.

Most Malaysians are aware that we live in a patriarchal society, a system that favours men and disregards the significance of the opposite gender.

Understandably, certain ancient religious scriptures may highlight verses that may come across as permitting a husband to “strike lightly”.

A few days ago, a local daily reported that an influential individual expressed his thoughts on the matter. “Husbands are allowed to hit their wives for the purpose of teaching without the intention to hurt them or disgrace them. This method, however, should be the last resort after all other methods fail, including reprimanding her and sleeping separately,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »

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Rising above patriarchal politics

Syerleena Abdul Rashid
The Malaysian Insider
9 January 2015

There is something quite intimidating about politics that seems to deter a lot of capable Malaysian women from getting involved. Generally speaking, women are more vulnerable to attacks, smear campaigns and negative stereotypes as Malaysian society is still somewhat receptive towards patriarchal institutions and social relations. As a result, women are often regarded as inferior and worthy of only complimenting the masculine form.

Our Asian cultural values consent to a system that often regards men as the “protector” of society and family, which itself can sometimes be difficult to challenge although social reforms that are consistent and relevant to modern society are not entirely impossible.

2015 will present Malaysians with a chance to improve our nation’s standing in terms of women empowerment and advancing gender balanced policies. Supporting women’s rights is definitely a long-term agenda that demands thorough analysis, responsiveness and ambition as well as robust strategies that can strengthen progression while engaging all levels of society. Of course, empowerment can mean many things – power, participation, ability, autonomy, decision and freedom – but core fundamental values such as dignity, integrity, respect and self-esteem are highly respected and accepted by everyone. Read the rest of this entry »

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Purging misogyny from Malaysian politics

By Syerleena Abdul Rashid
Malaysiakini
Jan 7, 2015

DAP made Malaysian history last month, by setting a minimum 30 percent women’s quota at the central executive committee (CEC) level. Many regard this as a positive step that will encourage more women to participate in politics, especially at decision-making levels.

Wanita DAP chief Chong Eng aptly described it as “an important step to begin paving the way for more women leaders, and thus policies that are reflective of women’s interests”.

Sadly, both PKR and PAS are still lagging in terms of women representation in politics. Even though PKR amended its constitution in 2009, which included a 30 percent quota for women representation at all levels, the party has yet to achieve this.

Meanwhile according to PAS’ Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud, PAS’ men leaders and part of the women leaders “are not ready to impose such a quota” – even if this was the wish of the party’s women’s wing.

Such reports are upsetting, but change is not impossible. The role of women in local politics must be given greater emphasis, and this can only been done by changing the mindset of our society.

I concur with Wanita PKR chief Zuraida Kamaruddin’s statement that although the party – and to an extent, the Pakatan Rakyat coalition – has successfully attracted numerous capable women, unfortunately, quite a number of women are still somewhat reluctant to “step up” and take on leadership roles. Read the rest of this entry »

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Including both genders at work is paramount for a high income nation

— Syerleena Abdul Rashid
Malay Mail Online
December 18, 2014

DECEMBER 18 — Contrary to Isma’s beliefs, Malaysia will never achieve a high-income nation or even a developed nation status, if gender stereotypes continue to perpetuate our society, especially in matters that concerns the economy and honoring basic human rights. Their idea of solely depending on men as breadwinners and reducing women to child rearing duties is defective and discriminating to all Malaysians – regardless of gender.

The statement made by Dr Nur Farrah Nadia Najib, who heads the group’s family and society bureau, “A high income nation must not rely on women as the major contributor but rather men should lead the workforce and put their biggest effort in shaping the nation” is flawed as it demoralises the struggles Malaysian women work so hard to overcome.

Climbing the corporate ladder and pushing for equal pay has always been important issues for women’s rights advocacy and it is a continuous work in progress which needs support from the all levels of our society. There is no denying that education plays a crucial role in setting the template of success and attainment but even though, the number of women enrolled in tertiary institutions is currently higher than men, the opportunities for women to progress in the local workforce are different. To some extent, these opportunities may not even exist at all.

However, encouraging women to participate in the workforce is not enough. There must be pro-active measures by the government to guarantee that half of this country’s populations’ skills and talents are fully utilised in order to spur positive economic growth. Having more women at work can only be advantageous to our country, as differing perspectives supports diversity and innovation which are key dynamics needed to compete in an increasingly competitive globalised economy. Read the rest of this entry »

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Of prostitutes, peace and chivalry

Dyana Sofya
Mail Mail Online
OCTOBER 20, 2014

Dyana Sofya suffers from dysania and is using her superpowers to pen down her thoughts late into the night. Political Secretary to Lim Kit Siang by day and she tweets from @dyanasmd.

OCTOBER 20 — It is an interesting exercise to browse through the many comments on my Facebook fan page. Reading through them recently, I began to notice a pattern. Generally, there are three types of comments: positive, negative and commiserative.

The positive comments mostly take the form of motivating words of encouragement. These are my favourite, and I am eternally grateful for the constant show of support from Malaysians of all walks of life. They have never failed to fuel me with positive energy or pick me up when I feel down.

As for the negative comments, they are as colourful as one would expect them to be. From the usual name-calling, gender stereotyping to all kinds of discriminating attacks, I have learned to accept them as part and parcel of public life. In fact, I sometimes find it entertaining, as it takes a special breed of people to be able to be so shallow and perverse.

However, there is one more type of comment that has become a constant feature in almost every thread. I find these quite puzzling. Somehow, there seems to be quite a few people out there who find it necessary to convey their pity or sympathy because they feel I am being “used.” Often, they would also predict that I would one day “wake up” and realise that I am in the wrong struggle, and that I would eventually “return” to the true path. Read the rest of this entry »

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Second coming of the woman politician

Scott Ng | October 18, 2014
Free Malaysia Today

Malaysia has a new class of women leaders, and it’s time to take notice

COMMENT

Aung San Suu Kyi. Angela Merkel. Hillary Clinton. Margaret Thatcher. Dilma Rousseff. Gro Harlem Brundtland. Indira Gandhi. The last generation saw the beginning of the rise of women to prominent roles in government, sometimes to the pinnacle of their countries’ political structures.

But Asia has had the largest number of female chief executives in the world. Take Chandrika Kumaranatunga of Sri Lanka, for example. Her mother was the world’s first female Prime Minister, and she herself ascended to the role in 1994. Or Park Geun-Hye, who won South Korea’s latest presidential elections. Or former Thai premier Yingluck Shinawatra.

Malaysia finds itself with approximately 10% women representation in Parliament, just a few notches above Myanmar’s miniscule 6%. This is below the global average, and is not representative of the fact that women compose half of the entire human race, let alone the Malaysian population.
However, on the opposition side of the floor, we’re starting to see equity between the sexes with almost 30% of Pakatan Rakyat’s members of Parliament being women. And what women they are.

In the past, the torch for Malaysia’s female politicians was carried by Rafidah Aziz, former Minister of International Trade and Industry. A common sentiment was that if Rafidah had been a man, she would have long ago been a candidate for the illustrious post of Prime Minister. To a lesser extent, Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, was also a torch bearer for women politicians.

And then the political tsunami of 2008 happened and installed into power a new class of female politicians—young, driven by issues, passionate, intelligent, and most importantly, captivating. Nurul Izzah Anwar and Hannah Yeoh spearheaded this new movement, and they were joined a few years later by firecrackers like Dyana Sofya and Yeoh Bee Yin. These ladies have captured the imagination of the nation, speaking out strongly on the issues that matter not only to the youth, but the masses, powered by constant interactions with the communities they serve. Read the rest of this entry »

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Our political climate is rife with sexism

By Syerleena Abdul Rashid
Free Malaysia Today
October 4, 2014

COMMENT

Sexual jibes from close-minded individuals will not stop women from being heard in politics.

Interestingly, the media tends to work up a frenzy every time a Malay woman joins DAP. Most recently, Melati Rahim – a niqab donning activist, announced her membership and less than 24 hours later, the vicious attacks ensued with hell bent fervour.

Already she has been accused as being an apostate, a traitor and worse yet, a suggestion by an irresponsible blogger, that any woman joining DAP, for that matter, would be better off vacationing as prostitutes.

What warrants such extreme contempt and disapproval? Aren’t the scandal-tainted politicians who waste billions of public funds and attempt to destroy any notion of racial harmony in our country worse than all of us who join the opposition?

Being women, a minority in a male dominated setting, makes us easier targets for sexist remarks and revolting suggestions. We are often singled out and ridiculed for our political choices; as if we have committed terrible crimes against humanity. Read the rest of this entry »

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Do Umno Baru men fear women?

Mariam Mokhtar
Malaysiakini
August 4, 2014

The WikiLeaks ‘RM5 banknote gagging order’ has revealed that we cannot look to the West (read Australia) for an example of a nation which upholds democratic values, rule of law and a free press. Similarly, Malaysians cannot look to some men, principally Malay men in Umno Baru, as role models for equality, fairness and justice.

Last month, an Umno Baru constitutional law ‘expert’ said that PKR president Wan Azizah Wan Ismail could not become menteri besar because her menstruation was an “obstacle which would prevent her from accompanying the sultan, at functions”.

A few decades ago, when working in the petroleum industry, some men tried to discourage women with comments such as, “How can you go offshore, or climb ladders? Your clothing is an ‘obstacle’.”

These men had not heard of overalls. In their opinion, high-flying women were either stenographers or shop assistants. Things have not progressed much, in Malaysia.

Perhaps, Umno Baru men are trapped in a time warp, in which women are subservient and docile. Do they hanker for the good old days when a woman was a maid at home, a cook in the kitchen and a whore in the bedroom? We are not living in an Islamic caliphate nor are we living in the dark ages.

Umno Baru lawyer Mohd Hafarizam Harun, Umno Baru Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin and Universiti Islam Antarabangsa (UIA) lecturer Shamrahayu Abdul Aziz forget how they arrived in this world. For nine months, women carry a foetus, suffer weeks of morning sickness, have eating and sleeping problems, to climax in the pain of delivery. Read the rest of this entry »

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Umno’s caveman mentality

Dyana Sofya
The Malay Mail Online
July 15, 2014

July 15 — Apparently, some people feel that Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail may not be a suitable candidate for the Selangor menteri besar post because she suffers from “uzur syarie” (menses).

This statement from UMNO legal adviser Dato’ Hafarizam is another testament to show how UMNO has failed to promote women in politics. This is unsurprising when even the UMNO Wanita Chief belittled my candidacy during the Teluk Intan By-election.

It is precisely this sort of negative attitude by those in power that has constantly robbed women of opportunities to lead in this nation. Only a person with a caveman mentality can deny women the opportunity and right to hold a leadership position in government simply because she may not be able to perform certain ceremonial acts during “that time of the month,” even though she is perfectly capable of performing her governing and administrative obligations.

Obviously Dato’ Hafarizam has never heard of three-term Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, who is one of the most powerful leaders in Europe. Perhaps if he had watched the World Cup Final yesterday, he may have noticed Merkel in the audience, sitting next to the President of Argentina, Christina Fernandez de Kirshner. In case it is not obvious enough for Dato’ Hafarizam, they are both successful women leaders.

In the Muslim world, we had Benazir Bhutto who was the first Muslim woman to head a democratic government as Prime Minister of Pakistan in 1988. Her achievement was followed by Begum Khaleda Zia, Prime Minister of Bangladesh from 1991-1996 and again from 2001-2006. Read the rest of this entry »

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Gang-rape is okay, chocs are not

Mariam Mokhtar
Malaysiakini
Jun 2, 2014

The Muslim NGOs who were prepared to declare jihad, sue the manufacturers and burn down a factory, because their favourite chocolates were allegedly contaminated with pig DNA, deserve our contempt, not our compassion.

Where was their condemnation of the gang-rape of two teenage girls by some 30 men in Kelantan? Why did they keep silent about the abduction, attempted rape and subsequent beheading of a two-year-old girl?

In third world countries like Somalia, Nigeria, Sudan, Pakistan, India and Afghanistan, women are treated like replaceable items. Malaysia is no different. Some of our Muslim men treat their women like disposable razors: Once the edge has gone, their usefulness is over and they are discarded. Another will take its place.

Will the Muslim NGOs demand stern action to deal with violence against women? Are chocolates more important than women? Read the rest of this entry »

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LETTER: Smear campaign against Dyana Sofya exposes backward collective mindset

by Joshua Teh Honguan
fz.com
May 29, 2014

THE response to the nomination of Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud for the vacant Teluk Intan parliamentary seat has shone an uncomfortable light upon our society and the way in which we view women.

The smear campaign, the cat calls, wolf whistles, labels of ‘pretty face’, ‘cheap candy’, and ‘puppet’ are symptomatic of the deep running sexism prevalent in Malaysian politics and society as a whole.

In objectifying women and refusing to perceive a woman as something more than a pretty face, we disregard her intellectual capability and personal worth. As long as we continue to judge women solely on their looks, we will never be able to embrace their true value.

The uncouth reaction towards Dyana Sofya coupled with an inability or refusal to see beyond her appearance does her a disservice as an individual and as a political candidate. Worse, it exposes a backward collective mindset that we should be ashamed of. Read the rest of this entry »

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Dyana not the only victim of sexism in politics, say women leaders

BY ANISAH SHUKRY
The Malaysian Insider
MAY 25, 2014

The smear campaign against DAP’s Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud highlights the sexism endemic in Malaysian politics.

In Parliament, men outnumber women by almost 10 to one. A female representative, whether in Parliament or a state assembly, has to fight sexist perceptions of her marital status, looks and dress.

DAP vice-chairperson Teresa Kok said she once argued in Parliament for the rights of single mothers, only to be interrupted by an MP who reminded the Dewan Rakyat that she was unmarried.

“They said I was single, not qualified to make comments on the issue of single mothers. And being a single woman in the eyes of some Umno MPs is akin to being a second-class citizen. They run me down, treat my status as a joke,” the Seputeh MP told The Malaysian Insider. Read the rest of this entry »

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With DAP’s Dyana, Ambiga says happy to see more women in politics (VIDEO)

BY BOO SU-LYN
The Malay Mail Online
MAY 25, 2014

TELUK INTAN, May 25 — In a country where only one out of 10 MPs is female, activist Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan lauded Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud’s bold step forward into the murky political world dominated by men.

Ambiga, a former Malaysian Bar president turned activist, also decried the sexist attacks that the 26-year-old DAP aspirant has suffered in the Teluk Intan by-election campaign.

“As a woman, I’m happy to see more and more women coming up to fight the battle in the political arena,” Ambiga said at a DAP fundraising dinner here last night, attended by some 2,000 people.

“We are happy to see more women in Parliament,” added the former chief of election watchdog Bersih 2.0.

The 13th general election last year saw only 23 women being elected into the 222-seat Parliament.

The ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition has 14 female federal lawmakers, while the opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) has nine, out of which the DAP has the most at four. Read the rest of this entry »

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Let’s do away with sexism and build a respectful nation

By Dr Sharifah Halimah Jaafar | TMI
MAY 21, 2014

The blatant act of disrespect on women and sexist messages by various groups to demean them during the Teluk Intan by-election campaign are unacceptable in a society which aims to become a developed nation.

The hoots and wolf whistles that drown out Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud, the DAP’s Teluk Intan candidate, by the predominantly male crowd at the nomination centre a few days ago for the gift of her physical appearance, are very regrettable. Our society at large is still unable to recognise and respect women for their calibre, strength and capability, to become leaders just as men.

It is also shameful that certain parties tried to humiliate Dyana by spreading the photos of a bikini-clad actress resembling her on the internet, purportedly portray her as a “bad” Muslim.

No doubt Dyana Sofya is young and beautiful, but what stands out about her is her intelligence, professionalism, confidence, courage, determination and passion to fight what she believes is right, despite the odds and the storms that come her way.

In a nutshell, this young lady has all the essence of a good leader with integrity and commitment for the rakyat, but it is a pity that narrow minded men see her as a sex object. Read the rest of this entry »

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When Zahid derided the dream of having a woman Prime Minister in Malaysia, he trampled on this year’s International Women’s Day theme “Equality for Women is Progress for All”

Barely two weeks after Malaysia joined the world to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, the Najib administration through the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi trampled on this year’s International Women’s Day theme “Equality for Women is Progress for All”.

With such mentality by those who wield power in the Najib premiership, it is no wonder that Malaysia’s gender equality index ranks so lowly as compared even with neighbouring countries in Southeast Asia.

The 2013 Global Gender Gap Index published by the World Economic Forum (WEF) ranked Malaysia 102 out of 136 countries, with other Asean countries besting Malaysia save for Cambodia (104) and Myanmar, which was not listed.

In the 2013 Global Gender Gap Index, Philippines was placed 5th in the world above Singapore at 58, Thailand at 65, Laos at 60, Vietnam at 73 and Indonesia at 95.

The index measures gender equality across four areas of health, education, economics and politics, covering 90% of the world’s population. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jangan mengasari wanita

– Izmil Amri
Roketkini
February 7, 2014

NABI Muhammad S.A.W mendidik umatnya supaya menyantuni wanita. Antara hadis baginda yang termasyhur, mafhumnya; yang terbaik daripada kalangan kami adalah yang melakukan yang terbaik untuk wanitanya. Justeru Islam, sebagai agama keamanan dan mendidik akhlak, jelas sekali melarang lelaki daripada bertindak kasar terhadap wanita.

Lelaki yang mengasari wanita, bahkan yang mengancam untuk menggunakan kekasaran ke atas wanita adalah lelaki yang bacul. Ini semua orang tahu. Sesiapa pun yang mengasari perempuan pastinya akan dilihat seolah-olah syaitan bertopengkan manusia. Tidak kira apa alasan sekalipun, perempuan tidak wajar dikasari. Baik dengan tutur kata atau kerja buat serta perlakuan fizikal.

Tuhan mencipta perempuan supaya disantuni. Bukan untuk dikasari, diherdik atau dicaci maki. Tanpa perlu dipertimbangkan apa jua latar belakang keturunan, agama, pendidikan, perempuan tetap perempuan. Dia mungkin isteri seseorang atau adik, kakak dan ibu kepada seseorang.

Maka perempuan tidak boleh dikasari. Ini asas yang jelas nyata. Tidak ada lelaki yang waras akalnya suka melihat titis air mata wanita. Lelaki yang sentiasa dahaga dan giat memakan air mata wanita itu ialah lelaki yang dayus, pengecut dan punya kebarangkalian besar tidak mempunyai organ kejantanan yang mencukupi. Read the rest of this entry »

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