KUALA LUMPUR, March 10 — PAS should take an interest in and support groups or initiatives that defend the rights of Muslim women instead of attacking them, Hannah Yeoh has said.
The deputy women, family and community development minister expressed her disappointment, after the Islamist party questioned the government’s channelling of funds to Muslim NGO Sisters in Islam (SIS), which helps abused Muslim women fight for their rights.
In a Facebook posting, Yeoh said that PAS should rightfully take a keen interest in issues concerning mistreated Muslim women, adding that it is a far better deed than siding with corrupt people.
“As a federal deputy minister in charge of portfolio involving families, children and women, including Muslim women, the provision for those who take the initiative to do the work of defending the rights of Muslim women is very important. Defending the rights of all abused Muslim women and women is far superior than cohabitation with those who defend corruption,” Yeoh said.
“Telenisa is a legal aid clinic run by SIS since 2003. They have done advisory work regarding Islamic Family Laws and Shariah Criminal Offences Laws to Muslim women, and those who need it, and they do it for free.
“To date, more than 8,400 women and men have benefitted from Telenisa,” she said.
The DAP lawmaker was responding to a statement by PAS deputy president Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man who lamented government funding for SIS, after the government announced a RM20,000 allocation for the NGO.
Tuan Ibrahim had remarked that it was unfair to allocate funding for SIS, which he labelled as “controversial” and one that causes “polemic” among Muslims.
PAS organ Harakah Daily quoted him reportedly as saying that any movements that contradict the country’s policies, such as human rights bodies, including the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam), must instead be reviewed.
However, Yeoh defended the move, saying that the money from the deputy minister’s allocation was to support those who compile data and statistics which can aid in planning and intervention work that addresses the country’s social issues.
She said SIS had also compiled a 2019 Telenisa Statistics Book which collected details of divorce cases involving Muslim women, as well as cases of women and children who are faced with financial issues owing to failed marriages.
“Only a truly caring government will give importance to data and statistics to solve issues.
“As a party which claims to fight for the right of Muslim women, PAS should be more objective and attentive to statistics and findings from Telenisa.
“Muslim women, or non-Muslim, they are both faced with abuse and must be defended by all, and it is my responsibility and desire to help to the best of my ability,” Yeoh added.