Improve gender equality, JAG tells Pakatan government

Source: The Malay Mail

PETALING JAYA, May 22—The Women and Family Development ministry must focus on human rights and gender equality, instead of merely reinforcing stereotypical associations of women with family, children, and welfare, says Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG).

In a statement today, the coalition called upon the new Pakatan Harapan government to launch institutional reforms aimed at advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment.

These reforms, said the coalition, should include strengthening the ministry’s authority to make decisions on women’s advancement.

“Pakatan Harapan must also strengthen and empower government machinery and organisations responding to gender equality issues,” it said.

“This includes providing adequate resources to the Welfare department, One-Stop Crisis Centres, and the Royal Malaysian Police Sexual Crimes Unit.” Read more

Integrate Cedaw at all levels — Women’s NGO Coalition

Source: The Star

By Women’s NGO Coalition

AFTER a delay of almost 10 years and continuous lobbying by various women’s groups, Malaysia is finally undergoing its second review under the Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (Cedaw) on Feb 20 in Geneva, Switzerland.

The government of Malaysia will be sending a 24-member delegation to engage in a constructive dialogue with the Cedaw Committee, which will be evaluating the country’s progress in implementing its obligations to uphold and promote women’s human rights.

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NGOs call for a ‘safe space’ for sexual abuse victims to be heard

Source: The Star

PETALING JAYA: Women’s rights organisations in Malaysia are calling for a “safe space” where women can speak up on sexual violence and harassment.

“In a world of changing cultural values of modern society, women’s rights along with other human rights groups have an important responsibility to stand up in solidarity to create safe spaces for victims of sexual violence and sexual harassment,” said the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) in a statement on Tuesday (Feb 6).

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‘Rape victim’s tudung did not save her’

Source: Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA: The recent conviction of a Kelantan man for rape and murder has prompted an activist lawyer to question the effectiveness of PAS’s Islamic administration, particularly as it pertains to the protection of women.

Nik Elin Rashid, who is a Kelantan native, said one would have expected sexual offences and violent crimes to be rare in a state governed according to Islamic principles.

Last Wednesday, the Kota Bharu High Court found Mohammad Awari Ahmad, 25, guilty of the 2015 rape and murder of housewife Yashmin Fauzi. He was sentenced to death for the murder and 18 years’ jail and 12 strokes of the rotan for the rape.

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Federal Court: Islam requires convert to consult spouse before changing child’s faith

Source: Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 31 — Islamic principles oblige Muslim converts to seek their non-Muslim spouses’ opinion before altering the religion of children born to a civil marriage, the Federal Court has indicated.

In the full judgement for its landmark ruling on Monday, the Federal Court highlighted two tenets in Islam — namely Al Syura, or consultation, and Al Adl, or justice — that are prescribed to Muslims.

“There was no consultation if the reverting parent has absolute right to change the original religion of the children without consulting the non-reverting parent,” Federal Court judge Tan Sri Zainun Ali said in a 100-page judgement sighted by Malay Mail.

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PM: Putrajaya may ban unilateral child conversions

Source: Malay Mail Online

Najib Razak giving a press conference during UMNO Supreme Council meeting at UMNO Headquarters, Menara Dato’ Onn, Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) on January 30 2018. Via Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 30 — The government will consider re-introducing a legal amendment to ban unilateral child conversion to Islam, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today after a landmark court ruling in M. Indira Gandhi’s case.

The prime minister was referring to Section 88A of the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act that the government had withdrawn before passing amendments to the law last August.

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Kes Indira: Mahkamah sivil boleh tafsir isu perundangan Islam

Sumber: Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, 30 Jan — Perlembagaan Persekutuan tidak menghalang mahkamah sivil daripada mentafsir atau menilai isu berkaitan undang-undang Islam.

Dalam penghakiman bertulis kes M Indira Gandhi, lima ahli panel mahkamah persekutuan berkata klausa 1A bawah Seksyen 121 Perlembagaan tidak mengurangkan kuasa mahkamah sivil berkaitan perkara dalam bidang kuasa mahkamah syariah.

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Answered: Who has the power in conversion cases — Gurdial Singh Nijar

Source: The Sun Online

BY GURDIAL SINGH NIJAR
(Deputy President, HAKAM)

ONCE ever so rarely emerges a court decision that will have a reverberating effect far beyond its own facts and parties to the case.

I speak of yesterday’s decision of the Federal Court in the Indira Gandhi case.

Before the Federal Court were two important questions: (1) who has authority to decide on matters of conversion of religion – the syariah courts or the civil courts where an issue arises involving its constitutional or statutory interpretation?

(2) In such conversion cases can one parent (without the consent of the other) have the final say? Read more

Indira Gandhi’s case shows civil law trumps shariah law

Source: The Malaysian Insight

THE landmark decision in the M. Indira Gandhi case sets a precedent that civil law prevails over shariah law, lawyers and civil groups said today.

The Federal Court yesterday ruled that the unilateral conversion of Indira’s three children to Islam was null and void, requiring the consent of both parents and the constitutional word “parent” was a case of being lost in translation.

Lawyers for Liberty’s Eric Paulsen said the ruling prevents cases which takes into consideration both civil and shariah law to bypass the common law.

“The judgment is extremely significant, as it conclusively stated that unilateral conversion is no longer valid.

“Therefore, a newly converted spouse can no longer circumvent civil law and go through the shariah system in order to unfairly gain custody of the children,” he told The Malaysian Insight.

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‘Indira judgment welcomed, but authorities must follow through’

Source: Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA: A human rights NGO today hailed a landmark ruling which set aside the unilateral conversion of three children to Islam, expressing hope however that the authorities would follow through.

Lawyers for Liberty executive director Eric Paulsen said the Federal Court’s ruling in M Indira Gandhi’s case was long overdue.

He said he was happy that the matter had been resolved “in the favour of justice”, adding that the ruling shows that Muslims and non-Muslims are equal under the law.

“But failure of authorities to follow through on the decision will impact the confidence in court judgments.

“It could lead to a collapse of the system which could see people taking matters into their own hands,” he told FMT.

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