LAW BREAKERS MUST RESIGN
We, the undersigned civil society organizations, are gathered here to protest strongly against law makers who intentionally break laws that are enacted to ensure principles of justice and equality.
We are extremely concerned about the action taken by the Kinabatangan Member of Parliament Bung Mokhtar and Zizie Ezette A Samad to enter into an illegal polygamous marriage. Bung Mokhtar and Zizie Ezette were married on 16 December 2009 without fulfilling the required procedure and conditions under the Islamic Family Law (Selangor) Enactment 2003. This includes evidence that he could be just and the marriage does not cause harm to his existing wife and childen. The law also requires the judge to listen to the views of Bung Mokhtar’s existing wife to determine if the above conditions could be met.
As a Member of Parliament who makes laws, Bung Mokhtar has set a bad example to other citizens. His disrespect for a law that was enacted to protect the interest of women and children and to minimise the unjust impact of polygamy could further encourage more men to continue with the ongoing practice of marrying illegally without the permission of the court.
Bung Mokhtar’s conduct as well as his notorious reputation of sexism in parliament tarnishes his credibility as an elected lawmaker. Furthermore, at no time has Bung Mokthar expressed regret or apologized for his conduct, but in fact, defended his actions. As the Deputy Chairperson of the Barisan National Parliament Backbencher’s Club, Bung Mokhtar’s conduct has also tainted the stature of his office and the august house.
Law makers should NOT be law breakers. Bung Mokhtar must resign, and should not be nominated to represent the citizens of Malaysia again. We expect our leaders to behave in a responsible, respectful and accountable manner. Obey the law or you will be voted out.
Maria Chin Abdullah
For and on behalf of the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG), which comprises:
Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER)
Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO)
Women’s Center for Change (WCC) Penang
Sisters in Islam (SIS)
All Women’s Action Society (AWAM)
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