10 years after the amendments to the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territories) Act 1984 was passed in 2005, Muslim women continue facing discrimination in Syariah courts. The 2005 amendments to the Act received public uproar and concerns raised by women Senators, Members of Parliament, Sisters in Islam, and other women’s rights NGOs as it further chiseled away the rights of Muslim women in Malaysia.
In response, the government ordered a review of these amendments in early 2006. Several rounds of negotiations were held between Sisters in Islam and the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality with the Attorney General’s Chambers and the religious authorities. Consensus was reached on several further amendments to redress the gross discrimination against women in the 2005 amendments. The Islamic Family Law (Federal Territories) (Amendment) Bill 2005 was to be tabled at Parliament in 2009. Unfortunately, the bill was suddenly withdrawn, with the assurance given that it will be submitted again once approval is received from the Conference of Rulers.
However, there has been silence since then, in spite of repeated queries and more promises of action.
Sisters in Islam’s National Convention will provide the platform to revive the discussion on Muslim family law reform. This convention will bring together 200 participants, comprising Members of Parliament, Syariah law experts, law practitioners, judges, Islamic religious authorities, women’s rights activists, single mothers and women heads of households to demand the necessary law reform to ensure justice for Muslim women.
18 October 2015
Sisters in Islam