Consult women on changes to Family Law


  • Letters
  • Saturday, 31 Dec 2005

IN 1994, Parliament passed the Domestic Violence Act. It took the Government two years to gazette and implement the law because of objections from certain authorities.  

They did not want the Act to apply to Muslims because they considered domestic violence a family matter, and felt it should come under the Islamic Family Law at the state level.  

The Act was a just law that faced objections. The Islamic Family Law Amendments Bill recently passed by Parliament is an unjust law.  

It would be a wise decision if the Government refrains from gazetting this Bill and ensures that it is not enforced. The 1984 Islamic Family Law should remain in use. 

As for the states that have adopted and gazetted this new enactment, a moratorium should be placed on the enforcement of this unjust law.  

In the 1970s, when the Government decided to reform the Family Law governing marriage and divorce of non-Muslims, it established a Parliamentary Select Committee that travelled all over the country to hold public hearings. 

The end result was a new law that recognised equality between men and women in marriage and divorce.  

Muslims should also benefit from this same process of democratic consultation in drafting the new Muslim Family Law.  

I strongly support the call for a Parliamentary Select Committee to be established to hear the testimonies of women and their experiences with the syariah system in this country. 

 

Fatimah Ahmad,  

Petaling Jaya.  

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