Wednesday, March 8, 2006

Malaysia Women 'Suffer Apartheid'.

According to BBC, Marina Mahathir, a campaigner for women's rights says that new laws will make daily life worse for Muslim women, compared the lot of women to that of black South Africans under apartheid.

The daughter of Malaysia's former prime minister has launched a scathing attack on the roles and status of Muslim women in the country. She described Muslim women as second-class citizens who were held back by discrimination.

However, his daughter Marina has described Muslim women in Malaysia as subject to a form of apartheid - second-class citizens held back by discriminatory rules that do not apply to non-Muslim women. Her outburst appears to have been prompted by recent changes to Malaysia's Islamic family law that makes it easier for Muslim men to take multiple wives, to divorce them and to take a share of their property.

The women's ministry encouraged female lawmakers to vote for the measures, saying they could be amended later.

That prompted widespread criticism and has led Marina to suggest the ministry be split in two - one to help non-Muslim women fight discrimination, the other to keep Muslim women, in her words, bound and gagged.

However, compared to many other countries in both South East Asia and the wider Muslim world, Malaysian women - Muslims included - play a prominent role in both business and public life.

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