Grim and bleak Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day on Sunday in Malaysia this year has become very grim and bleak because of gender-insensitivities of Barisan Nasional (BN) MPs as well as increasing incidence in the country of family break-ups because of religion.

I will not go into the disgraceful episode in the last two days of two BN MPs dishonouring women and Parliament with their crude, sexist and gender-offensive remarks.

There is also the other heart-rending development of increasing incidence of families being broken up because of religion, whether Subashini, Marimuthu, Revathi, Benedict Gopal or Magendran – all very cases.

Take the case of rubber-tapper Marimuthu who was happily married to Raimah Bibi a/p Noordin for 21 years with seven children but who was forcibly separated from them on the ground that his wife was a Muslim. Although Marimuthu has got back all his children, the family is broken up as the children do not have a mother with them in the house and Raimah Bibi is separated from the husband and children — although there can be no doubt that they would want to be reunited as one family again but religion is standing in the way.

All religions inculcate good values of family love, compassion and unity and no religion would work to disrupt happy families.

This trend is most unhealthy and disruptive of family unity and development, national integration and inter-religious understanding and harmony and warrants the most urgent attention for a solution to be found to stop more and more break-up of families because of religion.

In this connection, I notice a conspicuous omission in the interim report of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Unity and National Service — as there is no reference whatsoever to the controversy over Article 121(1A) of the Malaysian Constitution.

The 1988 amendment of Article 121(1A) of the Federal Constitution was to provide to Muslims the constitutional protection for their rights to be adjudicated in syariah courts without detracting any rights from non-Muslims.

I have no doubt that if during the parliamentary debate in March 1988 on the Constitution Amendment Bill 1988 which enacted Article 121(1A), an MP had the foresight to ask whether the intention was to create injustices and family griefs like the Subashini, Moorthy, Rayappan, Marimuthu, Revathi, Benedict Gopal and Magendran cases, or to erode and undermine the constitutional rights of non-Muslim Malaysians to seek legal redress in civil court rather than in syariah court, the answer would have been a clear “No” in both instances.

By enacting Article 121(1A), Parliament never intended to take away even one iota of the constitutional rights of non-Muslims to be fully adjudicated under civil law and not under syariah law.

Why then has the implementation of Article 121(1A) been allowed to create grave strain and stress to Malaysia’s plural society of diverse races and religions?

If there is uncertainty in the interpretation and implementation of Article 121(1A) as to create a situation never intended by Parliament, it is the duty of Parliament to rectify it. While Article 121(1A) remains in the Constitution, there should be a new Article 121(1B) to make it clear that Article 121(1A) does not derogate from non-Muslim Malaysians any rights which they had enjoyed without challenge before the 1988 Constitution amendment.

When the Parliamentary Select Committee prepares its final report, it should take a clear stand to support Article 121(1B) amendment of the Constitution to clearly restore to non-Muslim Malaysians the Merdeka “social contract” and their constitutional right not to be adversely affected by Syariah law and courts.

(Speech 2 in the debate on the Interim Report of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Unity and National Service in the Dewan Rakyat on Thursday, 10th May 2007 at 9.15 pm)

  1. #1 by pwcheng on Friday, 11 May 2007 - 1:32 pm

    Enough had been said on all this and to me it will take a Herculean effort to move an inch or maybe it will not move at all, except moving backwards. We definitely cannot have the Peoples Power because we are a divided race where the majority is favoring one race even though most of the benefits go to their kins and folks, cronies and to those who makes some noises. However they are made to believe that policies are made to benefit them, but along the way many of them do benefit albeit not much ( eg taken MARA loan and not paying back, getting license, small contracts, educational aids and of course many more type of aids disguised as for everybody but in fact is only meant for them) as compared to those in power and their cronies which comes in millions or billions.

    It will have to take 10 Nelson Mandelas to fight them and the Malaysian style apartheid is worse than the South African because it is designed to kill you slowly. As LKY has put it, they are systematically discriminating the other races. Everybody that blogs here, I am sure are fed up and stressed up and probably will shorten 5 years of life. Those that had been directly affected like Subashini, Marimuthu, Revathi, Benedict Gopal or Magendran, probably will shorten their lives by 10 years. Worst still many of them, the worst are those from civil service, had become very arrogant; something we use to see how the Orang Puteh behaves those days and obviously they hate the Orang Puteh for all these. They have even gone to the extent of taking laws into their own hands by murdering an Orang Puteh and bestowed him as a hero by having the road changed from Jalan Birch to Jalan Mahajarela. But why are imitating the British today and doing what the British had done to cause so much hatred by other races.

  2. #2 by Taiko on Friday, 11 May 2007 - 2:19 pm

    When we celebrate Mother’s Day, we don’t think of politics. But those affected by it will surely feel the implications of racial and religious politics.

  3. #3 by uniticious on Friday, 11 May 2007 - 2:43 pm

    I wonder if they ever realise where they actually came from. Besides, do they think they will not hurt their mum, wives or daughters?

  4. #4 by ihavesomethingtosay on Friday, 11 May 2007 - 4:29 pm

    Wonder what these two idots will buy for their mother this comming mother’s day…………..

    perharps a bunch of bananas?

  5. #5 by FuturePolitician on Friday, 11 May 2007 - 4:43 pm

    dont have to put it an equal footing with Mother’s day.. lets not relate Mother’s day into a political discussion.. NOT everyone gives a F about the incident.

  6. #6 by awesome on Friday, 11 May 2007 - 5:16 pm

    Uncle Kit, I tend to agree with some comments that you relate politics with Mother’s day. I doubt Mother’s day is going to be bleak and grim over some silly fellow’s reaction in the parlimen.

    The only thing that stands out is these fellows reputations and regard has been affected.

    To all mothers let me take the pleasure to wish you a wonderful year ahead. You are precious and your labour over the next generation is priceless. Do not lose your peace over some silly remarks but mothers you are valuable and deserve a better treatment.

    Without you, there are no politicians too. You have laboured much, sacrificed much and surely you’ll enjoy the fruits of your labour.

    To all mothers view life positively in the midst of the crisis you face and may I wish you a very “Blessed, Joyous and wonderful Mother’s Day” soon.

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