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Monday January 24, 2011

Normala cites her faith for not shaking hands with men

LABIS: PAS candidate Normala Sudirman is firm about not shaking hands with men citing her faith as the reason.

Hitting out at the Barisan Nasional for turning it into a political issue, she said: “We (Muslim women) do not even shake hands with Muslim men.

“After all these years of independence, Umno should have explained to its component parties about the way Muslims greet each other,” she said at a press conference here yesterday.

“There is no problem (for us) when greeting women,” she said, in defence of a belief among many Muslims that skin contact with those considered non-muhrim (spouse or immediate family members) is forbidden.

Asked about wearing gloves, which she did during her walkabouts here yesterday, she said: “Sometimes we have to be flexible”.

She added that PKR president Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Ismail also wears gloves if she needs to shake hands with men.

“Our friends in the PKR and DAP have been explaining our way to the people here and they (the voters) seem to understand it,” she said, adding that Umno should do the same.

Normala later joined DAP leaders at Jalan Segamat to write Chinese calligraphy, including lin nien, meaning ‘collaborate.’

Meanwhile, MCA vice-president Datuk Seri Ng Yen Yen said the women may not be easily swayed to vote for Normala because “they are smart and would look at the bigger picture before casting their votes.”

“PAS claims it is not moving towards an Islamic state but why is their candidate making an issue about shaking hands with male voters?

“It would be better if PAS openly states it wants to create a Muslim country governed by Muslim regulations,” she said.

Dr Ng, who is Tourism Minister, said Wanita Umno members had been working hard to address women’s issues and this is what the voters look for.

“The women voters will not be swayed by the opposition ceramahs,” she told reporters after launching the Johor state-level 1Malaysia Green, 1Malaysia Clean campaign here yesterday.

Women make up 51% of the 14, 753 voters in the Tenang constituency.

Meanwhile, PAS vice president Salahuddin Ayub alleged that Barisan candidate Mohd Azahar Ibrahim is a “reluctant candidate.”

“We have fielded a candidate who is dedicated and willing to serve the people while the Barisan candidate had to be coaxed into becoming a candidate,” he said, adding that Mohd Azahar had resigned his post as an assistant district officer only on Friday.

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