Govt Doubles Down On Its Probe On Women's March By Asking JAWI To Assist Cops

JAWI will not compromise on any action that goes against Islamic teachings, according to Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Religious Affairs) Na'im Mokhtar.

Cover image via SAYS & Bernama

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Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Religious Affairs) Na'im Mokhtar has ordered the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department (JAWI) to assist the police in their probe into the Women's March in front of SOGO Kuala Lumpur and Dataran Merdeka recently

The Women's March held on Sunday, 12 March, involved some 150 people, including human rights activists, university students, and members of political parties in celebration of International Women's Day.

Na'im said that JAWI will not compromise on any action that goes against Islamic teachings.

"The Prime Minister's Department (Religious Affairs) wishes to remind all quarters to accept and respect Islam's position as enshrined in the Federal Constitution," he said in a statement today, 14 March.

According to the minister, any efforts to promote or normalise "deviant lifestyles" which go against "Islamic values and human nature is completely unacceptable", reported Malaysiakini.

The minister's order comes after the police opened an investigation paper against the Women's March under Section 9(5) of the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 and Section 14 of the Minor Offences Act 1995

Dang Wangi district police chief Noor Dellhan Yahaya said the march did not follow the provisions of the law.

Among the nine demands raised during the march, the participants asked for equal pay as men, the end of child marriages, and social protection for "all oppressed genders", reported Malay Mail.

According to Noor Dellhan, the participants were found to have gathered and marched while holding placards that read: 'Imagine If Men Were As Disgusted With Rape As With Periods', 'Child, Not Bride', 'Trans Women Are Women', and 'Police Your Behaviour, Not My Body'.

"The investigation paper will be completed and referred to the deputy public prosecutor for further instruction," he added, advising the public not to participate in other illegal assemblies.

Image via SAYS

Meanwhile, the government's doubling down in its action against the women's march comes amidst condemnation from the organisers

"We recall and remind this current government of its long history of democratic actions and expressions and the use of public assembly and protests over the last several decades before it came to power.

"We are disheartened and disappointed at being penalised for exercising our democratic right to fight for a better Malaysia," it said, adding that the organisers took all the necessary steps to inform relevant authorities and follow the rules and regulations in place before the march.

"Do we not deserve to express our thoughts, talk about the issues that plague the lives of one too many people, and ask for changes that will create the Malaysia Madani that the unity government wants," it said.

According to the organisers, the newly-elected government should use this critical time to instead show its commitment towards improving its human rights record by making it an obligation to assess the impact towards citizens' rights in peaceful assemblies.

"We urge the government to address the trust deficit of citizens towards our core institutions."

Read more about the police probe here:

Last year, Datuk Nurulhidayah Ahmad Zahid courted controversy for claiming that men, not women, are born to be leaders:

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