Friday, May 05, 2006

Marina's Hardtalk

At least ONE person from the Mahathir clan is talking sense.

Marina Mahathir, in an interview with Bloomberg published yesterday, urged the Malaysian government to keep religion out of politics.

Malaysian women’s rights activist Marina Mahathir, daughter of the country’s longest-serving premier, said the government isn’t doing enough to stop conservative Muslims from eroding the rights of citizens.

A slew of incidents, including the trial of a couple for kissing in public and new rules that force non-Muslim policewomen to wear headscarves in parades, signal an incursion of conservative Muslim values into public life, she said.

“All these developments are worrying,'’ said Marina, whose father, Mahathir Mohamad, was prime minister from 1981 to 2003. “We want to promote ourselves as a moderate Muslim country,'’ so “we have to walk the talk.'’

and on indecent behaviour and moral policing:-

“Cabinet says put a hold on all these bylaws on indecent behavior, Jakim says: `No, we’re still going to go out and arrest Muslim couples.”’ Marina said. “You’re a government department, the cabinet says this and you’re defying it? Come on.'’

and on the recent headscarve controversy or "tudung"directive coming from the Prime Minister:-

Prime Minister Abdullah oversees Jakim through the Prime Minister’s Department. In March, he backed a police decision to force policewomen to wear Muslim headscarves, or tudung, during official parades.

That precedent may encourage religious authorities to impose standards of dress on all Muslim women, Marina said.


“There are Muslims who are worried about these laws being applied to us,'’ she said. “If you make non-Muslims wear tudung, what about Muslims who don’t wear tudung?'’

and finally, a nugget of wisdom from Marina:-

It’s a very dangerous thing,'’ Marina said. “You should keep religion out of politics — any religion.'’

Bravo Marina. I like your Guts!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

sometime when we view local tv programe you will get the feeling the programe is for muslim viewers only. we feel marginalised. tv stations should be more sensitive of other veiwers and not try 2 b holier then thou .

6/5/06 00:08  
Blogger Maverick SM said...

What Marina had preach all the years in Marina Musing is a fact that shows her consistency as compared to shahrir.

I have the deepest respect and adoration for Marina.

She has now become the new "Marina's Law" to replace Murphy's Law - whatever she say can happen, will happen."

6/5/06 06:31  
Blogger raja said...

Name me one country that has detached religion from politics? UK has a monarch as head of the state's official religion. Even Unites States imprinted "In God We Trust" on its Dollar notes!!

The only form of givernment that is genuinely "secular" are the communists, socialists,agnostics and atheist ideological states.

Most democracies,including Malaysia, are "pseudo-secular", which allow religion a role in its political structure. This must be differentiated with the "theoctatic states" of Iran and Israel, which are being ruled by a superior Religious Council and Religious Leader over an elected parliament.

Marina seems to want her religion out of politics.Surely she is not recommending Malaysia to be a communist country!!

6/5/06 14:32  
Blogger Anak Merdeka said...

I don't think Marina meant for this country to be communist in nature as suggested by Raja. I think in Malaysia the religion of Islam has encroached into so many aspects of society, politically, economically and socially that we do indeed have cause for alarm.

Yes, there is nothing wrong with Malaysia being a pseudo-secular democratic country but just look at what happened in reality here and if you face the truth, the non-Muslims are feeling increasingly compromised. 20 years ago, it is just so common to see a Muslim lady without her head covered in a tudung in a govt dept as another one who does. But go to any govt office these days and you will be hard pressed to see one without a tudung over her head.

Would you say that govt servants are more pious now than before or could it be that it is a subtle form of social pressure which has crept upon us quietly over the years?

I certainly don't believe a Muslim woman who choose not to cover her head is less pious than one who does. But then again, there ARE certain people who think that way. And these are the sort of people who can dictate our society - just look at the police force! And look at our national schools! We are now a country more concerned with form over substance!

Non-Muslims can never talk about such things openly in this country. We need someone like Marina to speak up. And for that, I applaud her for her bravery.

6/5/06 16:44  

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