GEORGE TOWN, April 20 ― The Penang state executive council has decided to table a motion against Tasek Gelugor MP Datuk Shabudin Yahaya over his remarks on rape victims and child marriage.
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng stressed that the motion is against the Umno MP and his remarks that nine-year-old girls are physically and spiritually ready for marriage and his proposed solution that rape victims marry their rapists.
“We want to take this as a point of principle to defend and uphold women’s rights and dignity, this is what we will do,” he told a press conference at the Penang Digital Library this morning.
Lim pointed out that in all his statements and criticisms against what Shabudin said in Parliament on April 5 was directed at the MP individually, and not at Islam or Islamic family law.
“Let me make it clear. My remarks are all against Shabudin, don’t let him twist it to an Islamic family law issue, this is a very dishonest, desperate and disreputable attempt to save himself,” he said.
He said all his attacks against Shabudin were directed at the two main remarks Shabudin had made about nine-year-old girls being ready for marriage and rape victims marrying their rapists as a sort of solution.
“I did not mention Islam. We are attacking Shabudin, not Islam, so don’t spin this to try to get yourself out of trouble. He is grasping at straws and trying to twist the whole argument, controversy into an attack on Islam,” the DAP secretary-general said.
Yesterday, Shabudin had demanded Lim to state his stance on Section 8 and 18 of the state Islamic Family Law (Penang ) Enactment 2004 that allows a Shariah judge to make a decision to allow marriage for males under 18 and females under 16.
“My question is specifically to him to state his stand on this enactment. Don’t just accuse me of being desperado and using religion to save myself. I am raising this based on facts,” Shabudin had said.
Lim responded to this by pointing out that he is not a Muslim and that he doesn’t know what is permitted in the state Islamic family law.
“He shouldn’t be asking me about Islam. I’m not Muslim. How should I know about Islam? I’ve never mentioned about Islam,” he said.
He asked Shabudin how the state’s condemnation of his remarks that nine-year-old girls are physically and spiritually ready for marriage and rapists be allowed to marry their victims can be construed as “against Islam”.
“How can that be construed as against the Islamic family law?” he asked.
He asked Shabudin to point out if the exact two phrases were in the Islamic family law.
“Unless he’s telling me that this is permitted in the Islamic family law, I wouldn’t know. Let him say it and then, let the ulama and religious experts comment on that.
“If that is included in the Islamic family law, I wouldn’t know, I wouldn’t think so but as I said, this is not for me to make a comment because this is in an area I have no knowledge of and it is not appropriate for me to comment,” he added.
Lim also said it was not fair for Shabudin to insist that he comment on the Islamic family law as it is something he is not qualified to comment on.
“It is just like I wouldn’t ask him to comment on accounting standards,” he said.