SHAH ALAM, July 16 ― Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim scoffed today at an Umno lawyer’s claim that his wife cannot be made the next Selangor mentri besar because of her menstrual cycle, saying such views were “irrelevant” at this time and age.
“We are in 2014. What he is saying is clearly irrelevant,” the PKR de facto leader told reporters here.
Yesterday, an Umno lawyer suggested that the menstrual cycle prevents PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail from becoming Selangor mentri besar as she cannot attend religious events during that time of the month.
Commenting on speculation that Dr Wan Azizah may be poised to replace Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, Datuk Mohd Hafarizam Harun said the mentri besar has always been male for this reason despite there being no specific clause excluding a woman from holding the post.
“I think it is good that Wan Azizah chose to ignore his remarks. This is not a question of Wan Azizah but giving more room to women and according them equal opportunities to compete,” Anwar added.
Hafarizam is the legal adviser to Umno and rose to prominence for his central role in the legal battles arising from the 2009 Perak constitutional crisis, which saw Barisan Nasional (BN) regain the state from Pakatan Rakyat (PR).
In Islam, a menstruating woman is considered “unclean”, and is prohibited from praying and reading Quran, among others.
Most Islamic scholars also bar women from entering a mosque while menstruating.
The Constitution of the State of Selangor 1959 only requires the mentri besar to be a Malay and Muslim, but does not lay down conditions on the gender.
Dr Wan Azizah, who is both a Malay and a Muslim, is also the state assemblyman for the Kajang constituency in Selangor, fulfilling the most important requirement.
There is renewed agitation within Pakatan Rakyat to remove Khalid from the post, stemming from apparent dissatisfaction with his administration of Selangor.
He survived one such attempt, dubbed the “Kajang Move”, in March after the purported plan to install Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in his place fell through.