Promoting an understanding of Islam that recognises the principles of
justice, equality, freedom, and dignity within a democratic nation state

The Star - Sharing the Nation - Kudos to the G25 (11 January 2015)
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Kudos to the G25

by zainah anwar
Jam Merdeka or Jam Besar which was built in 1957 August 31 contribution from the Multi racial residents from Masjid Tanah Alor Gajah Malacca. It sits along the main road to Tanjung Bidara and Malacca Town.

Jam Merdeka or Jam Besar which was built in 1957 August 31 contribution from the Multi racial residents from Masjid Tanah Alor Gajah Malacca. It sits along the main road to Tanjung Bidara and Malacca Town.

I WROTE a year ago that the people of Malaysia will not be pawns in a dangerous political gamesmanship that is leading this country to the precipice of racial and religious conflict.

If our political leaders have neither the will nor the courage to do what is right for this nation, then we the people will show them. We want to build bridges, live together, understand and respect each other. Too many among us have kept quiet for too long while our democracy was being trampled upon. It is time now to stand up and be counted.

The year 2014 was indeed a very difficult and challenging one for Malaysia. The use and abuse of race and religion for political gain continued unabated and the ensuing gloom and doom about our future was further dampened by the tragedies of MH370 and MH17 and now the worst floods in our history and the crash of Indonesia Air Asia flight QZ8501.

But amid this pain and misfortune, a new sense of hope has been ignited by the G25 letter urging the Prime Minister to take action to bring clarity and vision to end the unresolved disputes on the position and application of Islamic laws in this country.

That 25 prominent Malay establishment figures chose to speak out and express in public their deep concern on the direction this country is taking with regard to Islam within our constitutional democra­tic framework reflects how much is at stake for so many Malaysians. They will keep quiet no more.

The issues raised in the G25 open letter have been festering for decades but have grown increasingly contentious as belligerent supremacist groups and individuals brazenly utter racist and bigoted statements, and as some religious authorities continue to violate the rule of law in their enforcement actions.

And yet the political leadership has shown neither the political will nor courage to respond to these statements and actions that consistently undermine this government’s now hollowed-out 1Malaysia policy and its claim of being a champion of moderation.

Not only that, a government that 20 years ago was strongly opposed to the PAS effort to introduce the Hudud law in Kelantan is today in cahoots with its nemesis to implement a law that is unconstitutional and that generates much fear of injustice and abuses, as has happened in countries where these draconian laws are in place.

Scores of groups and ­individuals have rallied in support of the G25 call for the Prime Minister to show his leadership and vision and engender a rational and informed dialogue on the position and application of Islamic laws in the country.

It is as if the floodgates have opened and more and more moderate voices have found the courage to speak out and break the hegemony of the supremacist groups who purport to speak for the whole Malay Muslim community.

Many Malaysians of all faiths and races are now determined to keep the momentum going, and ensure that the effort of the G25 shall not be in vain.

It is now incumbent upon the political leadership of this country, on both sides of the divide, to take serious steps to rally the nation in a search for equitable and just solutions to the many intractable problems and miscarriage of justice committed in the name of Islam.

To those who claim ignorance of any evidence of abuses, injustice and violations of fundamental liberties in the implementation of Islamic laws in Malaysia, they should start by just Googling “khalwat raids Malaysia”, “body snatching Malaysia”, “transgender Malaysia” – as a start.

And do read the Court of Appeal judgments on the Borders case and the transgender case, and the High Court, the Court of Appeal and Federal Court judgments on the Sisters in Islam book banning case. Do we believe in the Constitution and the rule of law or don’t we?

These cases reflect some of the issues of concerns raised in the G25 letter, not least the areas of conflict and overlap between civil and syariah laws, the lack of awareness, deliberate or otherwise, on the legal limits of the powers of the religious authorities and ­administration of Islamic laws, and the abysmal lack of knowledge on the rich diversity of interpretive texts, juristic opinions and legal concepts in the Islamic tradition that enable reform to take place and equality and justice to be upheld.

It is a gauge of how politicised religion has become in this country that those Muslims who deeply care for their religion, and are gravely concerned about how it is used, abused and distorted to serve short-term political gains, are labelled as anti-God, anti-Syariah, anti-Islam, anti-Malay, anti-monarchy.

If the political leadership still fails to awaken to the gravity of the situation and the sense of drift and foreboding enveloping the nation, then it is the rakyat who must take the lead and show how determined we are to keep this nation together.

And we can start the national dialogue with all of us re-committing ourselves to upholding the principles enshrined in our Federal Constitution, which has served us well over the past 57 years.
It upholds our fundamental liberties, rule of law, separation of powers and recognises the special position of the Malays and the legitimate interests of other communities.

We need to re-pledge our commitment to the Rukunegara, a national ideo­logy drawn up to rebuild a sense of national unity and purpose – of a government and its citizens committed to building a democratic, just and progressive society with a liberal approach to her rich and diverse cultural traditions.

And we should take pride in our long history of living and working together, of embracing and celebrating our diversity, which we have always seen as a source of strength to grow and prosper this nation.

These constitute the bedrock of fundamentals that has kept this nation together. These are the common grounds on which we stand as we search for solutions to the problems we face.
We have much to celebrate and to share. We must get real and ­serious and examine whether the disgruntlements and disenchantments of the different communities and groups are real and supported by facts and figures or whether they are manufactured to serve selfish political, economic and personal interests at the expense of the best interest of the nation.
Let’s focus our resources to find solutions to real documented problems instead of wasting time and energy fanning the flames of racial and religious suspicion and hatred.
How best can we use our Constitutional principles and the vision of Rukunegara to deal with the contentious issues that have beset this country for too long?
There are many Malaysians with the expertise, passion and commitment to devote their time to help this divided nation heal by focusing on finding solutions to the real problems, rather than clinging to ideologies that have led other divided nations to conflict, violence and economic backwardness.
That has not been the history of Malaysia or the future of Malaysia that we want. Let us not undo what our forefathers have built.
> Zainah Anwar is the ­internationally acclaimed and award-winning co-founder and former executive director of Sisters in Islam (SIS Forum) and the co-founder and director of Musawah, a global movement for equality and justice in the Muslim family. She is a former member of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam). The views expressed are entirely the writer’s own.
The Malay Mail Online: Mosques and temples, yes, but not RTD, group says of new dress code (9 June 2015)
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Mosques and temples, yes, but not RTD, group says of new dress code

KUALA LUMPUR, June 9 — The Road Transport Department’s (RTD) dress code is suitable for houses of worship but not a government agency serving the public, said a critical Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG).

Expressing shock over the dress code that made headlines after a woman complained she was forced to wear a sarong in order to obtain service at the RTD, the coalition of citizens groups said it was not the department’s place to dictate the attire of its customers.

“While it is acceptable to have a dress code for religious houses such as mosques or temples, the government on the other hand, has no place in adopting such stringent dress codes.

“What effect does the implementation of a rigid dress code have on the daily operations of an RTD office? How will it improve or disrupt the services of an RTD office?” the group said in a statement.

The group added that the dress code opens up the public, particularly women, to a new risk of “oppression and abuse” by officials who could now use fashion as a means to deny service to Malaysians.

It said RTD would do better by taking its obsession with how Malaysians dressed and redirecting this towards improving its service to the public. “JAG hopes the government will end this unnecessary moral policing by removing stringent dress codes, especially one that is tied to narrow and arbitrary definitions of modesty.”

Yesterday, a woman’s complaint of being made to wear a sarong, which she described as a “bag”, to cover up her legs when seeking service at one of RTD’s counters went viral on social media and hit media headlines.

Venting her frustration on Facebook, the woman included pictures of her attire — a pink blouse and a pink skirt ending several inches above her knees — that was deemed inappropriate by the department’s officers.

The RTD today apologised to the woman for the “inconvenience” of being made to wear the sarong, which it conceded was not standard procedure, but insisted that the dress code will remain.

After the incident, RTD published its dress code online, which stipulates that visitors prohibited from wearing short skirts, shorts, and sleeveless tops at its offices. The RTD has since come under heavy criticism by government and opposition MPs, who questioned if it is a sign of creeping Islamisation in the civil service. JAG is a coalition of seven primarily women-focussed non-governmental organisations.

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/mosques-and-temples-yes-but-not-rtd-group-says-of-new-dress-code
JAG Expresses Shock over arbitrary Dress Code Enforcement in Government Offices (9 June 2015)
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JAG Expresses Shock over arbitrary Dress Code Enforcement in Government Offices

9 June 2015

The Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) expresses shock at the treatment of a woman who was refused service at a Road Transport Department (RTD) office for allegedly dressing in a manner which was too ‘revealing’.

The action of the officers at the RTD office of refusing to provide service and forcing her to wear a sarong was both unwarranted and unprofessional. Such mistreatment is reflective of the growing conservatism in Malaysia which seeks to police the dressing and behavior of ordinary Malaysians. While it is acceptable to have a dress code for religious houses such as mosques or temples, the government on the other hand, has no place in adopting such stringent dress codes.

What effect does the implementation of a rigid dress code have on the daily operations of an RTD office? How will it improve or disrupt the services of an RTD office? It is important to note that nothing in the RTD’s Client Charter even mentions the dressing of customers. Wouldn’t the personnel in government office, in this case the RTD office, be better served focusing on improving the service provided to its customers rather than judging their clients and attempting to strictly enforce a dress code? The obsession with implementing a dress code is based on the assumption that Malaysians are unable to choose their own attire without regulation and policing. Again, women are being victimised for how they dress - this time by being denied access to government services. Whose standard of modesty is being enforced on all Malaysians? How and where will government offices draw the line on what constitutes indecent dress? Will all government offices then begin checking for dress code compliance following this incident? Surely our government resources can be better used to improve the service provided at government offices.

JAG is concerned that the implementation of a dress code has the risk of being another form of oppression and abused by government officers to deny services, especially to female customers. We call on the RTD to prioritize upholding their promise of “friendly, efficient and transparent” service as found within their own Client Charter rather than indulging in pointless policing. JAG hopes the government will end this unnecessary moral policing by removing stringent dress codes, especially one that is tied to narrow and arbitrary definitions of modesty.

Endorsed by the Joint Action for Gender Equality (JAG):

1. All Women’s Action Society (AWAM)
2. Association of Women Lawyers (AWL)
3. Sabah Women’s Action Resource Group (SAWO)
4. Sisters in Islam (SIS)5. Perak Women for Women (PWW)
6. Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER)
7. Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO)
8. Women’s Centre for Change (WCC)
MalaysiaKini : New fund to ease Muslim women's legal cost woes (19 May 2015)
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New fund to ease Muslim women's legal cost woes

The Dr Nik Noriani Nik Badli Shah Legal Aid Fund was today officially launched   aimed at easing the financial burdens faced by Muslim women when seeking redress at the Syariah courts.

“While women’s right may be enshrined in the law, many Muslim women, continue to find it difficult to access their rights due to financial constraints,” said Sisters in Islam (SIS) executive director Ratna Osman.

The fund, which was initiated by SIS, aims to collect an amount of RM500,000 to provide legal aid services to Muslim women to help them bear the costs needed for court proceedings.


Ratna (photo) said although there were already existing legal aid bureaus that offered Muslim women help, many were being turned away as they could not meet the  fees charged by such centres.

“Does it mean that only those with money get justice and those without money are denied justice?” she asked.

She said the money raised through the fund would be channelled to SIS' legal advisory body, Telenisa, which provided guidance on marriage procedures, divorce, polygamy as well as children maintenance and custody according to Islamic law.

Telenisa, established in 2003, has provided free legal advisory services to approximately 10,200 Muslim clients to date.

Asked later if SIS would also help bear the cost of hiring Syariah lawyers, Ratna said this could be  is possible if the funds collected were sufficient.

Named after Towering Malaysian

The fund is named in memory of the late Nik Noriani, who served as an assistant parliamentary draftsman and a deputy commissioner for Law Revision in 1986.

She also played a crucial role in the drafting of the Violence Act 1994 during her tenure at the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

Present at the launching of the Dr Nik Noriani Nik Badli Shah Legal Aid Fund  was the late Nik Noriani’s uncle, Nik Mohd Amin who later donated RM100,000 on behalf of Noriani's estate.

Activist Marina Mahathir (photo), who was present at the launch, commended SIS’ initiative in helping women facing financial hurdles in their pursuit of justice.

“Men don’t have the same problem [..] women do because of our care-giving role. Hopefully. this fund will help them to make their lives easier,” she said when met after the function.

Those who wish to contribute to the fund are advised to contact SIS Forum's Hazline Mahmood at hazel@sistersinislam.org.my for further information.
The Dr Nik Noriani Nik Badli Shah Legal Aid Fund (19 May 2015)
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PRESS STATEMENT “THE DR. NIK NORIANI NIK BADLI SHAH LEGAL AID FUND”

Sisters in Islam (SIS) wishes to express our immense gratitude at the official launch of the Dr. Nik Noriani Nik Badli Shah Legal Aid Fund. We established this fund with the hope that it will help ease some of the financial burden faced by Muslim women when they seek redress in the Syariah Courts.

This fund is named in memory of our beloved Dr. Nik Noriani Nik Badli Shah, in celebration of her life, her many deeds and contributions. She passed away on 2nd January 2015, however, her legacy shall endure as we commemorate her persistent pursuit of justice and equality in the family.

Dr. Nik Noriani was a brilliant legal mind and played a crucial role in the drafting of the Domestic Violence Act 1994 during her tenure at the Attorney – General’s Chambers. Between 1986 and 1996, she served first as an Assistant Parliamentary Draftsmen and later as a Deputy Commissioner for Law Revision.

Nik’s expertise in the field of Islamic jurisprudence led to her appointment as a member of the Syariah Technical Committee, which was tasked with reviewing the discriminatory amendments made to the Islamic Family Law in 2005. Nik’s insistence at realising an Islamic Family law that better reflected the Quranic values of justice and equality can be seen in her many writings. She authored several books and articles, mostly in the area of Islamic and comparative family law and justice. They include Family law: Maintenance and other financial rights (1993); Marriage and Divorce under Islamic Law (1998); and Marriage and Divorce: Law Reform within Islamic Framework (2012). Her works continue to be used as a source of reference among practitioners and scholars of law, not only in Malaysia but also in countries such as Pakistan where her books have been translated into Urdu.

Nik’s PhD thesis on “Comparative Concepts of Justice in Islamic and Western Legal-Political Thought: A Dual Heritage Affecting Gender Justice In Malaysia” earned her a distinction from the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) and was described as among the best in 15 years. It was her vast knowledge of Islam, law, history, Muslim family laws, legal systems, and gender justice that fuelled her outrage against any injustice done in the name of Islam.

We established the Dr. Nik Noriani Nik Badli Shah Legal Aid Fund with the aim of helping women who would otherwise be unable to access justice. While women’s rights may be enshrined in the law, many women continue to find it difficult to access their rights due to financial constraints. The initial cost of filing a case in court can reach up to RM250. This does not include any additional costs that are incurred while the case is ongoing in court. Many women are unable to shoulder these costs, particularly those who are poor and/or have many dependents, and eventually abandon any attempt at seeking redress.

SIS has always believed that access to justice should not be limited to those who can afford it. We hope that with the establishment of this fund, we can at least help ease some of the financial burden women face when attempting to access justice.

It is in this vein too, that we urge the authorities to improve the efficiency of the Syariah Courts so that women can move on with their lives. Many women face multiple delays, which are compounded by complicated and bureaucratic court procedures that require them to travel up and down to court, for years at times. The services offered by the existing legal aid bureaus are simply insufficient to facilitate a quick resolution. Justice delayed is justice denied.

Nik, thank you for everything. May your legacy continue to assist those who need it the most. It was narrated from Abu Hurairah (RA) that Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said, “When a man (or a woman) dies, all his/her good deeds come to an end, except three: on-going charity, beneficial knowledge of the deceased and righteous son/ daughter(s) who will pray for the deceased.” (Sahih Muslim)

To contribute to the fund, kindly find the details as follows:
  • Cheques are made payable to SIS FORUM (MALAYSIA) and send to:
SIS Forum (Malaysia)
No. 4, Lorong 11/8E

46200 Petaling Jaya

Selangor Darul Ehsan
Malaysia
  • Telegraphic Transfer (TT) to our bank account with the following details:
Account Name: SIS FORUM (MALAYSIA)
Bank Name and Address: CIMB Bank Berhad (Jalan Gasing).
No. 111 & 113, Jalan Gasing 46000 Petaling Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia.

CIMB Bank No: 8003395345

Swift Code: CIBBMYKL



Sisters in Islam

19 May 2015
Kenyataan Akhbar Sisters in Islam Berkenaan Perasmian "Tabung Bantuan Guaman Dr. Nik Noriani Nik Badli Shah" (19 May 2015)
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KENYATAAN AKHBAR SISTERS IN ISLAM BERKENAAN PERASMIAN “TABUNG BANTUAN GUAMAN DR NIK NORIANI NIK BADLI SHAH”

Sisters in Islam (SIS) ingin melahirkan rasa syukur terhadap pelancaran dan perasmian Tabung Bantuan Guaman Dr Nik Noriani Nik Badli Shah. SIS berharap tabung ini dapat membantu meringankan beban pelanggan Telenisa khususnya wanita dan ibu-ibu tunggal sewaktu dalam proses pemfailan mahkamah dalam perjuangan menuntut keadilan.

Tabung ini dinamakan sempena memperingati jasa dan sumbangan Dr Nik Noriani Nik Badli Shah yang telah kembali ke rahmatullah pada 2 Januari 2015. Ia bertujuan untuk meneruskan legasi perjuangan beliau bersama SIS bagi menegakkan keadilan di dalam sistem perundangan keluarga Islam. Beliau merupakan seorang cendekiawan SIS yang telah memainkan peranan penting di dalam penggubalan Akta Keganasan Rumahtangga 1994 ketika beliau masih berkhidmat di Jabatan Peguam Negara.

Dr Nik Noriani pernah berkhidmat di Jabatan Peguam Negara dari 1986 hingga 1996 sebagai Penolong Penggubal Undang-Undang dan Timbalan Pesuruhjaya Penyemak Undang-Undang. Kepakaran beliau dalam bidang perundangan Islam diakui sehingga beliau dilantik oleh Peguam Negara pada tahun 2005 sebagai salah seorang Ahli Jawatankuasa Teknikal Syariah bagi menyemak dan mengkaji semula undang-undang Syariah di Malaysia.

Usaha Dr Nik Noriani yang konsisten dalam mereformasikan sistem perundangan keluarga Islam dapat dilihat melalui karya penulisan beliau seperti Undang-Undang Keluarga, Nafkah dan Hak-Hak Kewangan Lain (1993), Pekahwinan dan Perceraian di bawah Undang-Undang Islam (1998) dan Marriage and Divorce: Law Reform within Islamic Framework (2012). Penulisan beliau masih lagi digunakan sebagai rujukan pengamal undang-undang dan juga teks pengajian mahasiswa undang-undang bukan sahaja di Malaysia malah sehingga ke Pakistan di mana buku beliau telah diterjemahkan ke bahasa Urdu.

Tesis PhD beliau yang bertajuk “Comparative Concepts of Justice in Islamic and Western Legal-Political Thought: A Dual Heritage Affecting Gender Justice in Malaysia” telah diiktiraf sebagai tesis terbaik dalam tempoh 15 tahun oleh International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilisation (ISTAC), Universiti Islam Antarabangsa Malaysia (UIA). Tidak dapat dinafikan bahawa Dr Nik Noriani merupakan seorang yang sangat berilmu pengetahuan dan tidak pernah lesu berjuang untuk keadilan bagi wanita. Pemergian beliau sememangnya satu kehilangan besar khususnya bagi Sisters in Islam dan umat Islam secara amnya.

Perasmian Tabung Bantuan Guaman Dr Nik Noriani Nik Badli Shah ini diharap dapat membantu lebih ramai wanita dan ibu-ibu tunggal menuntut keadilan di dalam sistem perundangan Syariah. Walaupun hak-hak wanita termaktub di dalam undang-undang, malangnya, beban kewangan untuk melalui proses mahkamah merupakan cabaran yang dihadapi oleh ramai wanita. Sebagai contoh, kos permulaan untuk memfailkan kes di mahkamah sahaja boleh mencecah sehingga RM250. Ini tidak termasuk kos-kos lain yang harus ditanggung ketika kes sedang berjalan. Jumlah ini sudah tentu merupakan satu beban besar pada wanita, terutama sekali ibu tunggal yang berpendapatan rendah dan mempunyai tanggungan yang ramai. SIS berpendirian bahawa akses kepada keadilan tidak patut terhad hanya pada yang berkemampuan dari segi kewangan sahaja. Oleh yang demikian, tabung ini merupakan salah satu cara untuk membantu mendapatkan akses kepada keadilan buat wanita yang terpaksa mengharungi proses ke Mahkamah Syariah.

Kami menggesa supaya pihak berkuasa membaikpulih dan menaiktaraf sistem pentadbiran dan perundangan Syariah untuk meringankan beban wanita yang melalui proses mendapatkan keadilan di Mahkamah Syariah. Ramai wanita terpaksa menanggung beban dengan prosedur yang merumitkan sehingga terpaksa turun naik ke mahkamah bertahun-tahun lamanya. Beban birokrasi serta perkhidmatan bantuan guaman sedia ada tidak memadai bagi wanita untuk mendapatkan keadilan dengan segera.

Perubahan positif mampu dilakukan seperti di Mahkamah Syariah Terengganu yang telah menaiktaraf sistem e-syariah dengan menyelaraskan proses di mana maklumat berkenaan perbicaraan dan perintah boleh diakses secara online. Ini menjimatkan masa dan memudahkan ramai wanita dalam proses menuntut keadilan. SIS amat berharap agar konsep keadilan dan kesetaraan gender dapat diterapkan serta dilaksanakan dalam usaha untuk membaikpulih sistem pentadbiran dan perundangan Syariah, sebagaimana yang telah diperjuangkan oleh Dr Nik Noriani Nik Badli Shah sepanjang hayat beliau.

Kami berharap Tabung Bantuan Guaman Dr Nik Noriani Nik Badli Shah ini mampu meneruskan kesinambungan perjuangan Allahyarham Dr Nik Noriani dan kami berdoa semoga sumbangan daripada tabung ini menjadi amal jariah berterusan buat Allahyarham.

Daripada Abu Hurairah R.A bahawa Nabi SAW bersabda apabila mati seorang anak Adam, maka terputuslah amalnya kecuali tiga perkara; sedekah jariah, ilmu yang bermanfaat dan anak yang soleh yang mendoakannya (Hadis Riwayat Muslim).

Kak Nik, terima kasih di atas segala-galanya.

Jika anda berminat untuk menghulurkan sumbangan kepada dana ini, anda boleh melakukannya melalui cara-cara berikut:
1. Cek di atas nama SIS FORUM (MALAYSIA) dan dihantar kepada
SIS Forum (Malaysia)
No. 4, Jalan 11/8E
46200 Petaling Jaya
Selangor Darul Ehsan Malaysia

2. Pemindahan Telegrafik/Telegraphic Transfer (TT) ke akaun bank kami dengan maklumat berikut:

Nama Akaun: SIS FORUM (MALAYSIA)

Nama dan Alamat Bank: CIMB Bank Berhad (Jalan Gasing) No. 111 & 113, Jalan Gasing 46000 Petaling Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia.

Nombor Bank CIMB: 8003395345 Kod Swift: CIBBMYKL

Sisters in Islam 19 Mei 2015
JAG : Malaysia must act now to save human lives, protect victims of trafficking (18 May 2015)
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Joint Action Group for Gender Equality

Press Statement, 18 May 2015

Malaysia must act now to save human lives, protect victims of trafficking

For more information, contact:
Sumitra Visvanathan sumitra.wao@gmail.com / 03 7957 0636


We are appalled at the impending loss of life, trauma and serious human rights violations affecting the thousands of trafficked migrants, stateless persons and refugees now being ping-ponged by sea between Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. This is a human crisis of epic proportions, taking a devastating toll on the women, men and children still on the boats. Malaysia must act now to save and protect human lives.


This human crisis is spiraling due to government inaction. All three countries are simply eyeballing each other and none are willing to act with the immediacy that the situation demands: allow the people to disembark and provide them emergency aid. The three countries including Myanmar must be take responsibility by doing what is the most needed for the victims of trafficking.

We must show respect for human lives, for human dignity and human rights. The inaction demonstrates an unforgiveable disregard for the time honored international obligation, as codified by the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea, to rescue distressed people at sea and to extend protection to people fleeing persecution. These obligations are enshrined as binding on all countries.

As a state party, we remind Malaysia of CEDAW’s General Recommendation 32, which requests state parties to “recognize that trafficking is part and parcel of gender- related persecution, with the result that women, girls and children who are victims of trafficking or who fear becoming victims should be informed of and effectively enjoy the right of access to asylum procedures without discrimination or any preconditions.”

Victims of trafficking have the right to care and protection guaranteed under our Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007. We recognize the initiatives to identify and prosecute traffickers and to demolish their criminal syndicates. Yet, under our laws, these initiatives must be victim-centered and ensure victims of trafficking are treated humanely and accorded their due rights. The conditions on the boats, the coercion, abandonment and horrific abuses committed by the traffickers are being increasingly documented through interviews with survivors. It places all people on the boats squarely within the protections guaranteed victims under our Anti-Trafficking in Persons legal framework. We must activate the Act’s victim-centered care and protection systems with a rights based approach as a matter of priority.

The people who embarked on this dangerous journey are not criminals. Many of them are in search of protection from persecution. Instead, they have been exploited and abused by trafficking syndicates for profit. In these boats are many women, men and children who have already felt the bitterness of protracted and serious violations of their fundamental rights in Myanmar, and the violations have continued to be heaped on them throughout their journey in search of protection. 10 person have already died in the boat with no water and food. It must end now.

This human crisis confronts three key ASEAN member states at a time when ASEAN has declared itself people-oriented and people-centred, and has asserted a commitment to promote and protect human rights and respect for fundamental freedoms.

In times such as this, it is crucial for the member states to look pass the non-interference policy that exist within ASEAN, so they can come together to look into solutions to address this heinous crime of human trafficking – a crime against humanity. Ultimately, this is a critical test whether ASEAN is truly able to live up to its commitments.

The Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG):
Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO)
Tenaganita
Women’s Centre for Change (WCC) Penang
All Women’s Action Society (AWAM)
Association of Women Lawyers (AWL)
Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER)
Sisters in Islam
Pemerkosaan Dalam Perkahwinan Tidak Islamik (27 April 2015)
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PRESS STATEMENT

Kenyataan Akhbar
Pemerkosaan Dalam Perkahwinan Tidak Islamik

Sisters in Islam (SIS) memandang serius kenyataan-kenyataan yang dikeluarkan mutakhir ini berikutan kempen “Without Consent” yang dilancarkan oleh Parti Tindakan Demokratik (DAP) yang cuba mempertahankan pemerkosaan dalam perkahwinan atas nama Islam.

Sebagai agama yang sangat menyantuni wanita, perhubungan suami isteri di dalam Islam di bina atas dasar kasih-sayang dan hormat menghormati sebagaimana yang dinyatakan oleh Al Quran di dalam Surah Al Ruum ayat 21:

Dan di antara tanda-tanda kekuasaan-Nya ialah Dia menciptakan untukmu isteri dari jenismu sendiri, supaya kamu cenderung dan merasa tenteram kepadanya, dan dijadikan-Nya di antara kamu berdua rasa kasih dan sayang. Sesungguhnya pada yang demikian itu benar-benar terdapat tanda-tanda bagi kaum yang berfikir’

Islam memberikan hak-hak yang sama rata di antara suami dan isteri di dalam perkahwinan dan menyangkut soal perhubungan seksual, Al Quran menyatakan di dalam Surah Al Nisaa’ ayat 19: ‘…dan gaulilah isterimu dengan cara yang makruf...’

Imam Al Ghazali sewaktu menyatakan tentang tanggungjawab suami terhadap isteri memetik firman Allah S.W.T di dalam Surah Al Nisaa’ ayat 36 yang menyatakan : “…Dan berbuat baiklah kepada dua orang ibu bapa, saudara mara, anak-anak yatim,  orang-orang miskin, jiran yang dekat dan jiran yang jauh, teman sejawat, ibnu sabil, dan hamba sahaya kamu…” dan beliau menyatakan bahawa ‘teman sejawat’ yang dirujuk oleh Allah di dalam ayat tersebut bermaksud isteri. Beliau selanjutnya menyatakan bahawa menyantuni isteri dengan baik bukan sahaja bermaksud tidak menyakiti mereka secara fizikal, bahkan juga secara emosional.

Pemaksaan kepada isteri untuk melakukan hubungan seksual bukan sahaja satu penderaan fizikal bahkan ia merupakan penderaan emosil yang dilarang oleh Islam.

Kenyataan-kenyataan yang membenarkan pemerkosaan dalam perkahwinan adalah bercanggah dengan objektif Al-Quran yang menjamin kesetaraan hubungan antara suami dan isteri berdasarkan semangat mawaddah wa rahmah.

Sisters in Islam
27 April 2015
Kenyataan Media Sisters in Islam Terhadap Desakan Penurunan Lambang Salib di Gereja Taman Medan (20 April 2015)
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KENYATAAN MEDIA SISTERS IN ISLAM TERHADAP DESAKAN PENURUNAN LAMBANG SALIB DI GEREJA TAMAN MEDAN

Sisters in Islam (SIS) amat berdukacita dan kecewa terhadap tindakan sekumpulan penduduk di Taman Medan yang telah mengadakan bantahan sehingga memaksa penurunan lambang salib di sebuah gereja, seperti yang dilaporkan di akhbar baru-baru ini.

Perbuatan yang melanggar adab menghormati hak kebebasan beragama ini amatlah bertentangan dengan ajaran Islam yang mulia, serta mencabuli peruntukan dari Artikel 11 di dalam Perlembagaan Persekutuan negara ini.

Di dalam sebuah negara yang majmuk seperti Malaysia, adalah amat penting begi setiap penganut agama untuk saling menghormati hak beribadat agama penganut  lain. Khas bagi orang-orang Islam, perundingan secara baik adalah dianjurkan seperti maksud firman Allah di dalam Surah al-Ankabut 29: 46 :“Dan janganlah kamu berbahas dengan Ahli Kitab melainkan dengan cara yang lebih baik, kecuali orang yang berlaku zalim di antara mereka dan katakanlah: Kami beriman kepada apa yang diturunkan kepada kami dan kepada apa yang diturunkan kepada kamu dan Tuhan kami, juga Tuhan kamu, adalah Satu dan kepada-Nyalah, kami patuh dengan berserah diri.”

Kenyataan kumpulan yang membantah adanya lambang salib di gereja tersebut di kawasan yang majoritinya beragama Islam dan kebimbangan mereka bahawa golongan muda Islam akan tergugat iman adalah tidak munasabah. Lambang salib sudah menjadi identiti fizikal mana-mana gereja di Malaysia dan seluruh dunia dan bukannya sesuatu yang mempunyai kuasa ajaib yang dapat menggugat keimanan mana-mana orang Islam. Sebagai orang Islam juga, mereka patut mempunyai keimanan yang sebenar bahawa Allah adalah Pemilik Kuasa yang mutlak, dan tidak perlu ada ketakutan terhadap sesuatu lambang agama lain. Tidak pernah ada  satu laporan bercetak di Malaysia yang generasi muda Islam bertukar agama selepas melihat  lambang salib yang dipaparkan di bangunan gereja. Alasan yang diberikan oleh kumpulan yang membantah tersebut lebih berbaurkan elemen ekstremis yang bahaya dan perlu dibanteras dan ditolak oleh masyarakat Malaysia.

Lambang salib sudah digunapakai berkurun lamanya dan tidak pernah ada pengajaran dari Al Quran mahupun hadis Nabi yang menyuruh umat Islam untuk membuat bantahan seperti mana yang berlaku di Taman Medan. Malahan, Islam mempunyai kadar pertumbuhan penduduk agama yang paling tinggi di dunia menurut kajian Pew Research Centre.

SIS juga ingin memperingatkan di dalam sejarah permulaan Islam semasa berhadapan dengan tentangan dari kaum kafir Quraish di Mekah, tempat perlindungan yang pertama diberikan kepada ‘penghijrahan kecil’ orang Islam adalah daripada Raja Habsyah yang beragama Kristian. Kisah riwayat hidup Rasulullah s.a.w juga menekankan kepada bersikap baik dengan orang-orang yang bukan Islam, contohnya layanan baik baginda sendiri  terhadap jirannya seorang wanita Yahudi. Ada juga satu peristiwa apabila sekumpulan Kristian dari Najran melawat Rasulullah s.a.w, dan mereka diizinkan oleh baginda untuk melakukan ibadah di suatu sudut di dalam masjid di Madinah manakala Rasulullah s.a.w. dan kaum Muslimin melakukan solat jemaah di waktu yang sama.

Sebagai golongan majoriti Islam di negara ini, seharusnya kita menunjukkan sikap yang mulia dan menghormati hak beribadat kepada golongan minoriti, dan bukannya bersikap angkuh dan tidak sensitif seperti yang berlaku di Taman Medan.


Sisters in Islam
20 April 2015
Kenyataan Media Berkenaan Usul Rang Undang-Undang Peribadi untuk Meminda Akta Mahkamah Syariah 1965 (7 April 2015)
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PRESS STATEMENT

KENYATAAN MEDIA BERKENAAN USUL RANG UNDANG-UNDANG PERIBADI UNTUK MEMINDA AKTA MAHKAMAH SYARIAH 1965

Sisters in Islam melahirkan rasa kecewa dengan tindakan Ahli Parlimen Marang, Abdul Hadi Awang yang membelakangkan dan tidak menghormati Perlembagaan Persekutuan dengan tindakan beliau yang akan membentangkan Usul Rang Undang-Undang Peribadi bagi meminda Akta Mahkamah Syariah (Bidangkuasa Hukuman Jenayah) 1965 untuk meluaskan bidangkuasa hukuman jenayah bagi membolehkan Enakmen Kanun Jenayah Syariah (2) Negeri Kelantan 1993 dilaksanakan.

Kami memandang serius tindakan beliau ini yang ultra-vires dengan Perkara 75, 76 dan 76A Perlembagaan Persekutuan. Kami juga menggesa agar Ahli-Ahli Parlimen supaya menghormati pembahagian bidang kuasa antara Persekutuan dan Negeri serta menghormati dan mendukung Perlembagaan Persekutuan sebagai undang-undang tertinggi di negara ini.


Kami juga menggesa agar Parti Islam Se-Malaysia dan Kerajaan Negeri Kelantan memberikan lebih tumpuan dan prioriti kepada pembangunan ekonomi negeri dan pembangunan pasca-banjir kerana ia lebih menepati Maqasid Syariah dan tanggungjawab kepimpinan dalam Islam.


Kami sekali lagi menegaskan bahawa pelaksanaan Enakmen Kanun Jenayah Syariah (2) Negeri Kelantan 1993 adalah bertentangan dengan doktrin asas Perlembagaan. Kami berharap agar Usul Rang Undang-Undang Peribadi yang akan dibentangkan pada hari ini akan ditolak.

SISTERS IN ISLAM
7 APRIL 2015
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