MALAYSIANS AGAINST MORAL POLICING - The State Has No Role in Policing Morality sign now

MALAYSIANS AGAINST MORAL POLICING

JOINT STATEMENT

The State Has No Role in Policing Morality

It has become apparent in the past few months that we, as Malaysians, can no longer afford to remain silent over the increasing role of the state in policing the morality of its citizens.

The arrest of a transgender in the garden of a friend's house by religious authorities in Taiping (The Star, March 2, 2005, p12); the Malacca Belia 4-B campaign to spy on young people under the pretext of controlling morality (Malaysiakini.com, February 22, 2005); and the JAWI raid on a Kuala Lumpur nightclub and subsequent detention and humiliation of approximately 100 Muslim youth (Sunday Mail, Jan 23, 2005, p1) are unfortunate incidents that demonstrate how moral policing violates the personal dignity of humans and their rights as citizens.

We question the state's role in defining and controlling the morality of its citizens and its use of punitive religious and municipal laws. Forced and fearful compliance with such laws results not in a more moral society but a mass of terrified, submissive and hypocritical subjects.

We are concerned that when religion is so much part of the political arena, it increases the state's inclination to police the private lives of its citizens. Given the multi-religious and multi-ethnic composition of our society, any attempt to regulate a person's conscience, faith or private life has grave implications for all citizens and communities, as well as the relationships between communities.

The use of state instruments such as the police, religious and Rela officers to control morality is nothing new. The use of Muslim youth to spy on other Muslims, however, is unprecedented. It violates not only Quranic injunctions but also common standards of community trust. Further, it invites vigilantism. Reported plans to rope in non-Muslim youth to spy on non-Muslim couples indicate how quickly such invasive and authoritarian policies can affect Malaysians.

We are against the use of these state instruments, and the individuals and groups enlisted as their surrogates, to regulate morality. How people dress and where, how and with whom they socialise are personal choices.

The outcry following the nightclub raid and detention of some 100 Muslim patrons by JAWI officers recently and the case of a couple booked by City Hall enforcement officers for holding hands at the KLCC park in August 2003 indicates the Malaysian public's concern over the issue. In the past, many similar incidents went unreported because those who were charged pleaded guilty without legal representation for fear of the shame and discrimination of a prolonged public trial. It is clear that public opinion has changed, and that laws must be changed to reflect our increasingly open and progressive society.


Any law that attempts to regulate a citizen's life to the smallest detail has far-reaching consequences to the point that it becomes unjust and unenforceable.

The vague provisions of such laws leave them wide open to interpretation and abuse by enforcement officers, which can lead to selective prosecution and victimisation, usually on those from a marginalised class, gender and/or community.

The responsibility of the Government is to uphold and protect the rights of its citizens to justice, equality, freedom and dignity at all times.

In the spirit of our democratic and pluralistic society, we the undersigned affirm that morality is a matter best dealt with by individuals and their families, and we call for:

a) The repeal of provisions in religious and municipal laws that deny citizens their fundamental right to privacy, freedom of speech and expression, and those that overlap with the federal Penal Code;

b) The appointment of a committee to monitor the process of repealing these laws, including representation from women's groups, human rights groups, civil society organizations, progressive religious scholars and constitutional experts;

c) The strengthening of our pluralism through community dialogue around morals in our society, rather than the divisiveness bred by sub-contracting of moral policing and neighbours spying on neighbours.






KENYATAAN BERSAMA

Kerajaan Tidak Berhak Mengawasi Akhlak

Berdasarkan beberapa perkara yang berlaku semenjak kebelakangan ini, nyata sekali kita, sebagai rakyat Malaysia, tidak lagi boleh berdiam diri dan terus membiarkan penglibatan kerajaan yang semakin meningkat dalam mengawasi akhlak rakyatnya.

Penangkapan seorang mak nyah oleh pihak berkuasa agama di Taiping semasa dia berada di perkarangan rumah seorang kawannya (The Star, 2 Mac 2005, ms 12); kempen mengintip kelakuan anak-anak muda oleh Gerakan Belia 4-B Melaka dengan alasan mengawasi akhlak mereka (Malaysiakini.com, 22 Febuari 2005); dan penahanan dan tindakan yang memalukan ke atas lebih daripada 100 orang muda mudi beragama Islam oleh JAWI berikutan satu serbuan ke atas sebuah kelab malam di Kuala Lumpur semua ini merupakan peristiwa-peristiwa malang yang membuktikan bagaimana tindakan mengawasi akhlak boleh mencabuli kehormatan seseorang manusia serta hak asasi mereka sebagai rakyat.

Kami mempersoalkan peranan kerajaan, serta penggunaan undang-undang agama dan undang-undang munisipal oleh pihak kerajaan, untuk mendefinasi dan mengawal akhlak rakyatnya. Memaksa dan menakut-nakutkan rakyat supaya mematuhi undang-undang tersebut tidak akan membawa kepada masyarakat yang lebih berakhlak; sebaliknya tindakan tersebut akan menghasilkan masyarakat yang berada dalam ketakutan serta rakyat yang bersifat submisif dan hipokrit.

Kami bimbang apabila agama menjadi sebahagian besar daripada agenda politik negara, ianya akan menambah kecenderungan kerajaan untuk mengawasi kehidupan peribadi rakyatnya. Berdasarkan kepelbagaian bangsa dan agama masyarakat Malaysia, apa saja tindakan untuk mengawal nurani, kepercayaan dan kehidupan peribadi seseorang bukan sahaja membawa implikasi yang serius terhadap rakyat dan masyarakat, tetapi juga terhadap hubungan di antara pelbagai kaum.

Penggunaan agensi tertentu, contohnya pihak polis, pihak berkuasa agama dan pegawai-pegawai Rela, untuk mengawal akhlak rakyat bukanlah suatu perkara baru. Tetapi menggunakan belia-belia Islam untuk mengintip umat Islam yang lain adalah sesuatu yang belum pernah terjadi. Ini bukan sahaja melanggar perintah-perintah Al-Quran tetapi turut melanggar kepercayaan umum di dalam masyarakat. Tambahan lagi, ianya mengundang vigilantism, atau tindakan menghukum seseorang di luar batasan undang-undang. Lapuran yang menyatakan bahawa terdapatnya rancangan untuk menggunakan belia bukan Islam untuk mengintip pasangan bukan Islam menunjukkan betapa cepatnya dasar-dasar autoritarian ini dapat mempengaruhi rakyat Malaysia.

Kami menentang penggunaan aparatus kerajaan, serta individu dan kumpulan yang dilantik untuk membantu dalam mengawal akhlak. Cara seseorang berpakaian serta bagaimana, di mana dan dengan siapa mereka memilih untuk bergaul adalah perkara peribadi dan pilihan persendirian.

Bangkangan umum yang berlaku berikutan serbuan dan penahanan lebih daripada 100 pengunjung sebuah kelab malam oleh pegawai-pegawai JAWI baru-baru ini, serta kes yang melibatkan pasangan muda yang didenda oleh pegawai-pegawai penguatkuasa Dewan Bandaraya KL kerana berpegangan tangan semasa berada di taman KLCC pada bulan Ogos 2003, menunjukkan keprihatinan dan kebimbangan masyarakat Malaysia terhadap isu-isu tersebut. Sebelum ini, banyak kes yang sama tidak dilapurkan kerana mereka yang dituduh telah mengaku bersalah tanpa nasihat guaman. Mereka lebih rela berbuat demikian untuk mengelak daripada mengharungi diskriminasi yang pastinya akan timbul berikutan dari perbicaraan umum yang mereka hadapi. Kini, nyata pendapat umum telah berubah, dan undang-undang juga perlu diubah untuk mencerminkan masyarakat yang semakin bersifat terbuka dan progresif.

Apa jua undang-undang yang cuba mengawal kehidupan rakyat secara terperinci akan membawa akibat yang sangat mendalam sehinggakan ianya menjadi tidak adil dan sukar dikuatkuasakan. Peruntukan undang-undang yang samar-samar ini terlalu luas tafsirannya dan boleh disalahgunakan oleh pegawai penguatkuasa dan ianya boleh membawa kepada dakwaan yang terpilih serta penindasan terhadap mereka yang terpinggir dari segi darjat, jantina dan/atau komuniti.

Tanggungjawab kerajaan ialah untuk mendukung dan melindungi hak-hak keadilan, kesaksamaan, kebebasan dan kehormatan rakyatnya pada setiap masa.

Sebagai mewakili masyarakat Malaysia yang majmuk dan berdemokrasi, kami yang menandatangani dokumen ini mengesahkan bahawa akhlak merupakan sesuatu perkara yang lebih baik diselesaikan oleh individu-individu dan keluarga mereka, dan kami menyeru untuk:

a) Membubarkan semua peruntukan dalam undang-undang agama dan undang-undang munisipal yang menghalang rakyat daripada mengecapi hak-hak asasi peribadi, serta hak untuk berucap dan bersuara, dan juga undang-undang yang bertindih dengan Kod Penal persekutuan;

b) Melantik sebuah jawatankuasa untuk mengawasi proses pembubaran undang-undang tersebut, di mana jawatankuasa ini perlu terdiri daripada wakil-wakil dari organisasi wanita, oganisasi hak-hak asasi manusia, organisasi kemasyarakatan, cendekiawan agama yang progesif dan juga ahli pakar perlembagaan;

c) Mengeratkan hubungan masyarakat Malaysia yang majmuk/berbilang kaum menerusi dialog dan perbincangan umum berkenaan isu-isu keakhlakan dan bukannya merenggangkan hubungan tersebut dengan melantik pihak tertentu untuk mengawasi akhlak atau melalui cara mengintip jiran masing-masing.

Endorsed by / Disokong oleh
(as of Friday, 25 March 2005)


Organisations:

1. ALIRAN
2. All Womens Action Society (AWAM)
3. Campus Ministry Office, Penang Diocese (CMO)
4. Center for Orang Asli Concerns
5. Citizen's Health Initiative
6. Community Action Network (CAN)
7. Community Development Centre (CDC)
8. Education and Research Association for Consumer (ERA Consumer)
9. Food Not Bombs, Kuala Lumpur
10. Forum Iqra'
11. Group of Concerned Citizens
12. Indigenous Peoples Development Center (IPDC)
13. International Movement for a Just World (JUST)
14. Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (JERIT)
15. Jawatankuasa Kebajikan Mahasiswa/i (JKMI)
16. Justice and Peace Commission, Penang Diocese (J&P)
17. Knowledge and Rights with Young people through Safer Spaces (KRYSS)
18. Lasallians in Action
19. Malayan Nurses Union
20. Malaysia Youth and Student Democratic Movement (DEMA)
21. Malaysian Aids Council (MAC)
22. Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC)
23. Malaysian Voters Union (MALVU)
24. Metal Industry Employees Union
25. National Council of Women's Organisations (NCWO)
26. National Human Rights Society (HAKAM)
27. Pelangi Community Foundation
28. Penang Coordinating Council, Campus Ministry Office
29. Penang Diocesan Youth Network (PDYN)
30. Penang Office for Human Development (POHD)
31. Persatuan Ibu Tunggal Mutiara Kuala Lumpur
32. Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor (PSWS)
33. Persatuan Sejahtera Kuantan (PSK)
34. Pertubuhan Wanita dan Kesihatan (WAKE)
35. Protect & Save the Children
36. Pusat KOMAS
37. Research for Social Advancement (REFSA)
38. Sabah Women Action Resource Group (SAWO)
39. Save Ourselves (SOS)
40. Sisters in Islam (SIS)
41. Society for Christian Reflection
42. SOS Selangor
43. Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
44. Tenaganita
45. The Management Institute for Social Change (MINSOC)
46. The Sustainable Development Network (SUSDEN) Malaysia
47. Universiti Bangsar Utama (UBU)
48. Wanita Inovatif Jati Diri (WIJADI) Kelantan
49. Womens Aid Organisation (WAO)
50. Womens Development Collective (WDC)
51. Women's Candidacy Initiative (WCI)
52. Women's Centre for Change (WCC), Penang

Political Parties:

1. Democratic Action Party (DAP)
2. Democratic Action Party Socialist Youth (DAPSY)
3. Parti Keadilan Rakyat Malaysia (Keadilan)
4. Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)

Businesses:

1. The Body Shop West Malaysia

Elected Representatives:

1. Azalina Othman Said (YB Datuk), MP for Penggerang, Minister of Youth & Sports
2. Chong Chieng Jen (YB), MP for Bandar Kuching
3. Chong Eng (YB), MP for Bukit Mertajam
4. Fong Kui Lun (YB), MP for Bukit Bintang
5. Fong Po Kuan (YB), MP for Batu Gajah
6. Jimmy Donald, (MP, Sri Aman, Sarawak)
7. Lim Hock Seng (YB), MP for Bagan
8. Lim Kit Siang (YB), MP for Ipoh Timur
9. Loke Siew Fook (YB), ADUN for Lobak
10. M. Kulasegaran (YB), MP for Ipoh Barat
11. Mohamed Nazri Aziz (YB Datuk Seri), MP for Padang Rengas, Minister in the PMs Department
12. Mohd Zaid Ibrahim (YB Datuk), MP for Kota Bharu
13. Ng Yen Yen (YB Dato Dr), MP for Raub, Deputy Minister of Finance
14. Rahman Ismail (YB Datuk Dr), MP for Gombak
15. Rais Yatim (YB Datuk Seri Utama Dr), MP for Jelebu, Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage
16. Tan Kee Kwong (YB Dato Dr), MP for Segambut
17. Tan Kok Wai (YB), MP for Cheras
18. Tan Seng Giaw (YB Dr), MP for Kepong
19. Teng Chang Khim (YB), ADUN for Sungai Pinang
20. Teresa Kok (YB), MP for Seputeh
21. Toh Kin Woon (YB Datuk Dr), State Executive Counselor, ADUN for Machang Bubuk, Penang
22. Wong Nai Chee (YB), MP for Kota Melaka

Individuals:

1. A. Basarudin, PhD candidate, UCLA
2. Abd. Mutalip Abdullah, academic
3. Adriani Wahjanto, advocate & solicitor
4. Ahmad Hamdan Bin Kamaruddin, graphic designer
5. Alan Khoo
6. Alex de Silva, Advocate and Solicitor
7. Alex Tan Ken Seng
8. Ali Imran
9. Ambiga Sreenevasan
10. Aminullah Ali, businessman
11. Amir Muhammad, film maker / writer / director
12. Andrew Aeria, academic
13. Andrew Teh
14. Angela M. Kuga Thas, trustee, KRYSS
15. Angelyn Lee
16. Ann Lee, writer / director
17. Anna Har, pusat KOMAS
18. Antares (Kit Leee), writer, musician, ontologist & grandfather
19. Anthony Row
20. Anushia Kandasamy, consultant
21. Anwar Fazal, former president, Consumers International
22. Audrey L. Fernando, Malaysian citizen
23. Ayesha Jacqueline Chue, manager and mother of three
24. Azah Yazmin Yusof, broadcaster
25. Azhar Azizan Harun
26. Azmi Sharom, academic
27. Azzat Kamaludin
28. Baradan Kuppusamy, journalist
29. Berlinda Gooi, academic relations manager
30. Bernice Chauly, writer/photographer/actor
31. Beth Yahp, writer
32. Beverly Yong, gallery director
33. Bishan Singh, development entrepreneur
34. Brian Lariche
35. Cara Kamaruddin
36. Cecil Rajendra, poet / lawyer
37. Cecilia Anthonysamy, doctor
38. Celina Khor, TV presenter
39. Chan Choy Lang
40. Chan Lean Heng, USM academician
41. Charlene Rajendran, lecturer-drama
42. Charles Hector
43. Chee Sek Thim
44. Cheong Wai Quan
45. Chiam Heng Keng (Prof Dr)
46. Chua Hang Kuen, concerned Malaysian
47. Chuah Siew Eng
48. Colin Ong
49. Dhani Ahmad, male, independent punk activist, Gombak
50. Dominic Chan Weng Chun
51. Eileen Chan, teacher, social activist, actor, dancer
52. Ellen Philomena Ryan
53. Eric Goh Choo Tuck
54. Eugene Jayaraj Williams, partner, Messrs Zaid Ibrahim & Co.
55. Ezrena Marwan, graphic designer
56. F.R. Bhupalan (Mrs)
57. Fahri Azzat, advocate & solicitor
58. Farah Naim, lawyer
59. Farish A. Noor (Dr), political scientist and researcher on Political Islam
60. Fathi Aris Omar, Malaysiakini columnist and Asian Public Intellectuals fellow
61. Florence Looi Kwok Yih, lawyer
62. Foo Chiwei, graphic designer
63. Foo Ong Pin (Dr), consultant paediatrician
64. Grace de Silva, Malaysian citizen
65. Hariati Azizan, journalist
66. Haris Ibrahim, lawyer
67. Haslinah Yacob (Hajjah)
68. Hasmah, Malaysian citizen
69. Helen Ting, PhD candidate
70. Ho Chin Soon (Haji)
71. Ho Yock Lin, Women activist
72. Honey Tan, citizen
73. Indran Rajalingam, lawyer, Kota Bharu
74. Irene Fernandez (Dr)
75. Izlyn Ramli, Malaysian citizen
76. Jacqueline Ann Surin, Malaysian citizen
77. Jahabar Sadiq, citizen / journalist
78. James Lee, lawyer
79. Janet Tay Hui Ching, lawyer, KL
80. Jeff Ooi, blogger
81. Jennson Yuen, co-founder of forPLU.com website & businessman
82. Jerald S. Joseph
83. Jerome Kugan, writer / musician
84. Jeya Kumar, advocate and solicitor
85. Joachim F. Xavier
86. Joe Selvaretnam, citizen
87. John Chung, research executive
88. Julian Lee, student, Melbourne
89. Juliyah, Malaysian citizen
90. K Parameswary a/p Karpusamy, lawyer
91. K. Arumugam
92. K.C. Chye
93. Karen Chu
94. Karim Raslan
95. Kasim Ahmad, president Forum Iqra
96. Kenny Lai
97. Kevin Tan, Malaysian citizen
98. Koh Swe Yong
99. Kohila Yanasekara, activist
100. Krishnaveni Paul, lawyer
101. Kristinawati Ramlan, PR practitioner
102. Lai Wan Teng, citizen
103. Latifah, Malaysian citizen
104. Lawrence Lee
105. Lee Ban Chen, Malaysiakini columnist
106. Lee Hwok Aun, PhD candidate
107. Lee Jen Pink, lawyer
108. Leonard Teoh, advocate & solicitor
109. Leong Phaik Leng, advocate & solicitor
110. Leslie Lau, journalist / citizen
111. Lim Guan Eng, secretary general, DAP / former MP for Kota Melaka
112. Lim Swee Kuang (Joshua), IMA section head, father of two teenagers
113. Lim Tuck Sun
114. Lina Tan, producer
115. Loh Yin San, concerned citizen
116. Low Ngai Yuen, TV presenter
117. Lum Woon Foong
118. Maha Abdullah
119. Majella Gomes, writer
120. Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, lawyer
121. Manjeet Singh Dhillon, lawyer
122. Manon Easan
123. Mansor Saat, businessman
124. Marina Mahathir
125. Marina Zain
126. Marina Zainal Farid, race car driver
127. Mark Talalla
128. Maya Ardilia Husin
129. Md. Roslan Osman
130. Medaline Chang, journalist
131. Michael Chin
132. Michael Phung
133. Mina Cheah, Malaysian citizen / tax payer / registered voter
134. Mohammad Hashim Kamali (Prof)
135. Mohan Ambikaipaker, anthropologist and graduate student
136. Mohd Hazri (Hj), personal and corporate transformational healer
137. Mohd Nasir Hashim (Dr)
138. Mohd Zamri Kassim
139. Mona Mariappan
140. Mustafa K Anuar, PhD, social activist
141. N.Sivananthan, lawyer
142. Nachammai Kumarappan
143. Nicholas Tan
144. Nik Elin Zurina Nik Abdul Rashid, Kota Bharu
145. Nizam Zakaria, writer
146. Norhashima, Malaysian citizen
147. Pamela Moo
148. Pang Khee Teik
149. Param Cumaraswamy
150. Patrick Teoh
151. Paulina Michael, Malaysian citizen of Sarawak origin, activist, mother of two
152. Petra Gimbad, student
153. Philip Wong, human resource head
154. Pia Khalsom Zain Azraai, sister and daughter
155. Prema Perumal, software engineer / blogger
156. Premesh Chandran
157. Puteri Rose Sharlinah, Malaysian citizen
158. Quek Sue Yian, banker
159. Rachel Ng
160. Rafidah Abdullah, writer/TV presenter
161. Rajen Devaraj
162. Ramdas Tikamdas, lawyer
163. Ranita Mohd. Hussein (Dato)
164. Ranjit Kaur
165. Rashidah Abd A'ala, Malaysian citizen
166. Rashidah Hashim, mother of two
167. Razlina Razali, lawyer
168. Richard Yeoh, concerned Malaysian
169. Rita Sim, concerned rakyat Malaysia
170. Robert Hempel, engineer
171. Ronnie Liu, DAP International Secretary & NGO bureau chief
172. Rosli Omar, PhD
173. Rosniza, Malaysian citizen
174. Rozana Isa, concerned citizen and mother of three
175. S. B. Toh, journalist
176. S.Z. Aljeffri, artist
177. SA Thein, executive
178. Sally Ee
179. Samsukri Mohamad
180. Sascha Khan, business director
181. Selvamalar Alagaratnam, advocate & solicitor
182. Sem Kiong Angin, Sarawak
183. Shahrinaz Shaik, lawyer
184. Shalina Azhar
185. Sham Richard, concerned Malaysian
186. Shanon Shah, writer / musician
187. Shanti Ramu, concerned mother
188. Sharaad Kuttan
189. Sharan Sidhu, accounts executive
190. Sharifah Sarizeah
191. Sharmala Batumalai
192. Sharon Barbosa, advocate & solicitor
193. Sharon Nelson
194. Sidek Kamiso, journalist
195. Sonia Abraham, lawyer
196. Sonia Randhawa, media activist
197. Sreesanthan Eliathamby, lawyer
198. Sri Sarguna Raj
199. Stephanie Bastian
200. Sumit Mandal
201. Syahrul Bahiah Jamaludin, Malaysian
202. Tan Ban Cheng
203. Tan Siok Choo
204. Tania Khan, mother
205. Teo Chui Ping, concerned solicitor
206. Thein Soon Ann, engineer
207. Theivanai Amarthalingam, legal advisor, Penang
208. Tina Shah
209. Tony Woon Yeow Thong, advocate & solicitor, Seremban
210. Usha Nair, IT consultant
211. V. Gayathry
212. Vernon Adrian Emuang, Malaysian citizen, registered voter and activist
213. Veronica Shunmugam, arts journalist and singer
214. Vidya Bharati, concerned Malaysian
215. Vinayak Pradhan
216. Vincent Tey Wei Seng
217. Wei Ching
218. Wong Ee Lynn, concerned citizen
219. Wong Meng Chuo, social and environmental activist
220. Wong Teck Chi, student
221. Wong Yuen Mei
222. Yap Miow Sen
223. Yap Swee Seng
224. Yasmin Mokhtar, concerned citizen
225. Yasmine Merican, lecturer and graduate student
226. Yee Khim Chong
227. Yeoh Seng Guan, academic
228. Yvonne Tan
229. Zaharom Nain, academic and father of three
230. Zainal Zikri Zainal Abidin
231. Zarina Zahid, purchasing & merchandising executive
232. Zedeck Siew
233. Zuraidah Abdul Rahman

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