KUALA LUMPUR, April 27 – Wanita MCA shares public concern over the seven-day jail sentence imposed by the Syariah High Court against Petaling Jaya MP, Maria Chin Abdullah, for contempt of court.
The sentence was meted out following her criticism of an earlier Syariah High Court decision to imprison Emilia Hanafi, the former wife of prominent businessman Dato’ SM Faisal SM Nasimuddin for unilaterally rescheduling the visitation dates for her children to be with their father.
It has been brought to Wanita MCA’s attention that there have been times that such fixed dates were rearranged mutually. The father had likewise in the past requested to meet his children outside of the visitation dates and these requests were granted.
Maria is reported to have said that “Muslim women are still being discriminated under Malaysia’s Syariah legal system.” As an MP, more so a female MP, Maria has a duty to express her opinions on gender issues, especially, if there appears to her, a slant detrimental against women.
Also, Emilia had accused SM Faisal of domestic violence, of which he was previously investigated under Section 323 of the criminal code for allegedly assaulting his wife on Nov 22, 2015, at their residence at Desa Sri Hartamas (Malaysiakini, 30 Sept 2016).
Wanita MCA is concerned that the more serious issues of domestic violence and the protection of single mothers have not been adequately addressed and instead, perhaps even negated.
Meanwhile, the seven-day jail sentence ordered on both Emilia and Maria will set a bad precedent and send a wrong message to the public, especially the young.
For their mother to spend time behind bars only multiplies the trauma endured by Emilia’s young children, in addition to having witnessed their parents’ acrimonious divorce and custody battle.
Another major concern regarding the court’s prison sentence of Maria is that it appears to be oblivious to Maria’s separate, ongoing legal bid before the civil court to quash the Syariah court’s leave to SM Faisal to seek contempt proceedings against her.
The issues raised in the civil court should have been addressed first, prior to the Syariah High Court delivering its ruling.
Heng Seai Kie is Wanita MCA National Chairwoman.
- This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Ova.