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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Compulsory headscarves: MCA slams "power-hungry" PAS

Compulsory headscarves: MCA slams "power-hungry" PAS

PAS leaders denied the MCA's accusations that all female reporters including non-Muslims had to wear headscarves during its 57th annual congress cum party elections due to begin this Friday.

"They should check their facts before shooting off. We are on the opposite of the fence but it doesn't mean if they called us, we wouldn't have answer them," PAS treasurer-general Hatta Ramli told Malaysia Chronicle.

Bogeyman

Citing a news report from an online portal, Wanita MCA secretary-general Senator Chew Lee Giok had lashed out at PAS for the directive, accusing the Islamist party of being "power-hungry" and disrespectful of other races and religions.

"The issue was brought up yesterday in Malaysiakini (Chinese version) when PAS issued a Notice on theMuktamar Tahunan which required all interviewers to comply with several regulations," Chew said in a statement issued on Tuesday.

"These regulations include dress standards such as male reporters not being allowed to wear t-shirts or shorts, and Muslim female journalists are to wear a tudung. The statement went so far as to require non-Muslim females journalists to wear head scarves as well. They have also been forbidden to wear dresses and skirts."

She added that the choice of personal clothing was a "fundamental and individual right".

"This is a clear example of the PAS depriving people of their personal liberties. In a multiracial country, I absolutely respect the Muslim dress-code, but we also want PAS to respect the non-Muslim customs and choices," Chew added.

Her outburst is not surprising given the MCA's stance towrads PAS. Through the decades, the MCA has relied on rallying Chinese support by holding up PAS as a bogeyman, who will deprive them of their social and educational rights.

"This shows that not only are they (PAS) a pseudo-democratic party with overreaching power, but they also discriminate against women, hold extreme beliefs and are crossing acceptable boundaries to control individual rights," said Chew.

Party polls in focus

The PAS congress begins on June 3 and ends on June 5. Apart from the president's post, which Hadi Awang has already won uncontested, all other posts will be keenly challenged.

Three men - incumbent Nasharudin Mat Isa, vice president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man and central committee member Mohamad Sabu will fight for the deputy presidency.

Six men - including incumbents Mahfuz Omar and Salahuddin Ayub - will gun for the three vice-presidencies.

Their challengers are former Perak mentri besar Nizar Jamaluddin, Kelantan executive councillors Husam Musa and Nik Mohd Amar Abdullah, and also information chief Idris Ahmad.

- Malaysia Chronicle

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