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Thursday, September 8, 2016

Shariah Bill forum ‘all about men and power’, not justice, female filmmaker claims

KUALA LUMPUR - Filmmaker Norhayati Kaprawi has criticised a recent forum on PAS’ Shariah Bill that featured an all-male panel, saying it was not so much about justice and morals but about men and power.

Norhayati, who was sitting next to lawyer and activist Siti Kasim at the forum last Monday that saw Siti giving the middle finger to her hecklers, claimed the moderator, Dr Yusri Mohamad from Yayasan Dakwah Islamiah Malaysia (Yadim), ignored her when she raised her hand to ask questions during the second Q&A session.

“What I saw in that forum was that IT WAS all about MEN AND POWER, not so much about upholding justice, and not about creating a high moral society,” Norhayati said in a Facebook post yesterday in a mixture of Malay and English.

“The moderator saw me putting up my hand, but he looked elsewhere and allowed the men to stand up and ask questions, even though during the first Q&A round, the men already asked plenty of questions.

“So, in that ALL MALE forum, SITI was the ONLY WOMAN who got to participate in the whole discussion,” Norhayati added.

She also said the moderator had failed to control the rowdy audience when Siti was speaking.

The forum on “Pindaan Akta 355: Antara Realiti Dan Persepsi” organised by the Karangkraf Group in Shah Alam Monday — which discussed PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s private member’s Bill that seeks to amend the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Act 355) — featured an all-male panel, including moderator PAS secretary-general Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom, Kepong MP Dr Tan Seng Giaw from the DAP, and MCA central committee member Gan Ping Sieu.

Norhayati said she had wanted to ask Takiyuddin and Jamil Khir what was their obsession with enhancing punishments under Shariah law.

“Shouldn’t they be obsessed instead with how to ensure JUSTICE in the Shariah legal system so that it’s implemented effectively? So that each Muslim WILL UNDERSTAND WHAT IS JUSTICE AND HOW IMPORTANT IT IS FOR JUSTICE TO BE EFFECTED WELL AND EFFECTIVELY?” she said.

She pointed out that women’s rights groups had submitted more than five years ago draft amendments to the Islamic Family Law Act so that it would be fairer and protect the rights of Muslim women. However, nothing has been done so far.

“Harsh punishments will not create good people. What will shape people into good human beings is education about strong ethics since young, so we need to focus on EDUCATION, not PUNISHMENT,” she said.

The activist pointed out that the crime rates in countries like Sweden, Denmark and Japan were much lower than those in Muslim countries.

“If all of you, especially women, want to go on holiday, you all will definitely feel much safer in those countries compared to many Muslim countries, including those that have implemented hudud, even though Sweden, Germany and Japan all don’t have hudud,” she said.

PAS has insisted that Hadi’s private member’s Bill only aims to give the Shariah courts stronger punitive powers to offences listed under Act 355, while Jamil Khir reportedly said last month that there was a need to strengthen the Islamic courts as most of the fines and jail sentences have purportedly failed to deter offenders. - Malaymail online

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