GEORGE TOWN, Feb 11 ― Pakatan Rakyat leaders must be prepared to face more “action” against them now that authorities have successfully convicted Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, DAP’s Lim Guan Eng warned. The Penang chief minister pointed out that his state executive councillor, Chong Eng, is being investigated over her recent remark on women’s rights. “Even Chong is being investigated for defending women’s rights,” he said. Chong on Monday issued a statement criticising the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (JAIS) over a Friday sermon titled, “Aurat: Antara Kebebasan dan Maruah Diri.”
The sermon in question advised Muslim women to cover up their modesty to prevent rape and other forms of sexual harassment. She said JAIS’s sermon was misinformed, irresponsible, disrespectful and smacks of male bias as the “tutup aurat” message had served to shift the blame of sexual crimes on the victims instead of the perpetrators. Lim said Chong was not criticising Islamic norms, but was speaking out women’s right not to be attacked. “This is why the Penang state government and state executive councillors support her stand that sexual crimes victims should not be blamed,” he said.
Chong reiterated her statement that the root cause of rape is not how a person was dressed but due to unequal power of relationship. She cited a case were a Muslim woman, Nursuzaili Mokhtar, who was raped and killed in 2000 despite having worn a tudung and long skirt. Chong added that statistics show that half of rape victims are children under 16 years old. The Padang Lallang state assemblyman also denied she had mentioned anything about religion in her statement. The women development exco is now being investigated under Section 298 of the Penal Code for uttering words with intent to wound the religious feelings of any person.
The offense carries a jail term of not less than two years and not more than five years upon conviction. Chong is due to have her statement recorded by the police at the central Seberang Perai district police headquarters this evening. Yesterday, the Federal Court upheld the Court of Appeal’s conviction of Anwar for sodomising his former political aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, also keeping a five-year jail sentence.