Press Statement issued by Wanita MCA National Chairman Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun rejecting calls by PAS delegates that women reporters must cover up and be separated from men
Wanita MCA rejects calls by PAS delegates that women reporters must cover up and be separated from men: Chew Mei Fun – “Malaysia must prevent the spread of Talibanisation led by PAS”
Wanita MCA National Chairman YB Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun today was aghast at the criticisms by several delegates at PAS general assembly against women reporters covering PAS functions who did not cover up their heads.
It was reported inThe Star on 7 Jun 09 that a PAS delegate from Penang, Tapiudin Hamzah had hit out at women members of the media who had not covered their heads, saying that even if they did not own headscarves, they could at least make an attempt to cover their heads with handkerchiefs of even rags. Another PAS representative from Pahang questioned why women members of the media were allowed to mingle freely with their male colleagues.
Mei Fun decried, “the narrow minded thinking perpetuated by PAS delegates is the forefront of the Talibanisation of Malaysia should PAS ever seize federal power. Apart their vehement insistence of establishing an Islamic state which calls for hudud and syariah laws to be imposed even on non-Muslims, what is equally worrisome is that PAS intends to regulate women, thus subjugating them as inferior to men as evidenced with their chastising against women reporters who were carrying out their assignments.”
Noting that women members of the media were decently attired when reporting events, the Wanita MCA chairman did not conceal her fears of PAS descending into the footsteps of the Talibans in Afghanistan. “During the Taliban rule of Afghanistan, women were forced and still are expected by societal pressure to be wrapped from head to toe in burqas. They were not allowed to be educated. Neither could they leave their homes without being accompanied by a male family member. At all costs, Malaysia must prevent the spread of Talibanisation led by PAS.”
“Perhaps PAS had forgotten that during the Bukit Gantang by-election campaign rounds, the female reporters who had covered Dato’ Seri Nizar Jamaluddin’s movements wore the same type of attire which they did at PAS’muktamar. There appears to be double standards in PAS whereby when they want votes and publicity for their election campaign, they do not object to the audience and members of the media of both genders sitting and mingling together. But at their AGM, they demand female members of the media to cover up and deny them the freedom to double check their notes with their male counterparts. PAS should be aware that sometimes journalists would refer to each other’s notes for clarity.”
Mei Fun also called on PAS to be mindful that co-education schools, boys and girls learn together. “PAS should also observe that in co-education schools, female and male pupils are taught together in classrooms where they also sit next to each other and intermingle with each other during physical education classes, recess and after school hours while waiting for their transport to go home.”
Lastly, Mei Fun urged PAS delegates to recognize that women today are no more of yesteryears where they were confined to the domestic sphere. “Overcoming many traditional hurdles of the past, Malaysian women today are career minded and hold jobs no different from men. PAS should recognize that over the generations, women have progressed greatly. Rather than relegating women, PAS should treat women as equals, respect and support the advancement of women in whatever jobs they pursue. Perhaps PAS is not aware that in any working environment, it is natural that men and women are bound to meet each other.
Wanita MCA also challenged DAP and PKR to voice out clearly and loudly against their Pakatan Rakyat counterpart PAS’ narrow ways to prove their sincerity in rejecting anything extremist.