Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Star refused to delayed publishing Marina Mahathir's article

The following was supposed to have appeared in The Star on Tuesday, in Marina Mahathir’s regular column, but mysteriously wasn't published. The BBC has taken it up.

Since I prepared this posting last night, things have been happening. Malaysiakini has also picked in up, while it seems now that The Star has come around to publishing it today though I haven't checked on this. I will leave my original posting as it is, and where relevant, add more Malaysiakini bits in or strike out parts that are no longer applicable.

In that article, Marina let loose a few missiles on the way Malaysia has consigned Muslim women to certain demeaning roles and status.

said that Malaysian women may be compared to the black South Africans during Apartheid days. She averred they are nothing more than 2nd class citizens who have been held back by discrimination, which doesn’t apply to non-Muslim women.

Her sweet self - I hope she doesn’t mind calling her that as I have always been an admirer of Marina - has been thoroughly pissed off by changes to Malaysia's Islamic family law (IFL) that has turned out to women’s disadvantages. Under the new IFL, hubbies will now find it easier to take multiple wives, divorce them and to seize a share of their property. I wonder why, with a modern Malaysia, the government has come up with the IFL? Is it a pre-emptive strike on PAS' future policy? Or, is it to please the more conservative elements in UMNO?

She has been particularly disgusted by the women's ministry who encouraged female MPs and Senators to vote for the new IFL, on the promise that they could be amended later. To Marina, it seems that the ministry might as well be split into two, with one department to help non-Muslim women fight discrimination, while the other to keep Muslim women, in her words, bound and gagged.

From Malaysiakini, Marina said:

"In our country, there is an insidious growing form of apartheid among Malaysian women, that between Muslim and non-Muslim women. We are unique in that we actively legally discriminate against women who are arguably the majority in this country, Muslim women. Non-Muslim Malaysian women have benefited from more progressive laws over the years while the opposite has happened for Muslim women."

"These differences between the lot of Muslim women and non-Muslim women beg the question: do we have two categories of citizenship in Malaysia, whereby most female citizens have less rights than others?"

Marina complained to AFP that Malaysia is the only Islamic nation in which the rights of Muslim women are being eroded. She said:

"I, along with a lot of my friends, are just so angry about the situation. We're so angry about the family law which was passed through parliament. As non-Muslim women catch up with women in the rest of the world, Muslim women here are only going backwards."

"Only in Malaysia are Muslim women regressing; in every other Muslim country in the world, women have been gaining rights, not losing them. Today is International Womens Day. Unfortunately only about 40 percent of the women in this country can celebrate. The rest can only look at their non-Muslim sisters in despair and envy."

Maybe the PM should explain whether this is true?

And of course, being a mainstream newspaper, The Star obligingly took the article off.


  1. actually it's not the first time MM has been late to submit her articles. she once missed it by a whole two weeks and then some, so there's really nothing to speculate about.

  2. I must be a woman, even though it says "Lelaki" on my IC, because I fucking feel like a second-class citizen too.

    The similarity does not stop there.

    1) I also feel screwed all the time.
    - APs.
    - Highways.
    - Filthy rich BN politicians.

    2) Money is always withheld from me.
    - Scholarships. Loans.
    - Contracts.
    - Have to pay 5-15% more for housing.

    3) Adultery.
    - Government doesn't screw me alone. They screw Indians and quite a lot of Malays too.

  3. Aiyo. Late, late lar. Newspapers have specific deadlines because they need a few people to go through it. She's expecting special treatment because she's in the top 1 % of Malaysia's glitterati? Why create such a drama? This is a disservice to women.

    Anyway, nothing she wrote is different from the previous ones. Except she was particularly insulting to
    (1) black South Africans who really suffered during Apartheid. We're talking years of imprisonment, assasinations, massacres.
    (2) the poorest of the poor here. I'm talking Indian and Orang Asal women here. Not her rich liberal mates.

  4. Actually she submitted it on time. Where the hell did anyone start the rumor that it was late?

    You just made yourself sound very stupid, "munshi".

    The Star published it, but they edited out two paragraphs.

  5. What do you expect out of the only religion in the world to unashamedly practice apartheid in the name of god?

  6. Anonymous, let's get our facts straight - the religion did/does not practise apartheid - it's the followers who should be responsible.

    Many Indians converted to Islam to escape Apartheid Hinduism in its caste system, but obviously a so-called Hindu system that's practised by some Hindus for their own benefit, so in this, Islam has been the Great Liberator and Equalizer for many 'untouchables' who became an equal Muslim instead of a Hindu pariah.

    The ultra conservative Jews in Israel, for example like the members of the Shas Party, consider 'others'as of lower unclean order. Again, it's those people rather than Judaism itself.

    Let's all keep a clinical and open mind, and only target those who have been responsible, instead of blaming a religion that cannot answer back (and doesn't have to answer back).