Updated 4.30pm on 15 June 2009
PETALING JAYA, 9 June 2009: The National Human Rights Society (Hakam) has launched a petition urging PAS to retract its call for action against Sisters in Islam.
Hakam president Malik Imtiaz Ghulam Sarwar described as “disturbing” and “anti-democratic” the resolution adopted at PAS’s 55th muktamar on 7 June for SIS to be investigated and banned, and its members rehabilitated, if it was found to be anti-Islam.
“Though members of PAS are entitled to their views, the call for the banning of SIS is wholly unacceptable.
“As a matter of principle, the question of banning any organisation purely for their views should not arise at all. Differences of views must be respected and, if at all, be resolved through constructive engagement,” a statement released by Hakam said today.
It also noted that PAS’s demand against SIS did not match the party’s public rhetoric that called for more democracy and inclusiveness.
The statement is being circulated for people to endorse.The statement said that SIS or any other organisation had the same freedom to express their views as PAS.
“No one person or organisation has a monopoly over the right to express views on matters of public importance.
“The call to silence SIS and send its members for rehabilitation is an act of violence against those freedoms and their constitutional underpinnings. It also lends itself to further closure of the already narrow space of public discourse and debate that a slew of anti-expression laws have allowed Malaysians,” the statement read.
It noted that respect for diversity, including different views, should be protected if Malaysia wanted to become a mature democracy.
On 15 June, the online petition was moved because the original online poll that was hosted on Petition Online was encountering problems.
The PAS resolution against SIS has been condemned by the party’s Pakatan Rakyat partners, Parti Keadilan Rakyat and the DAP, the Barisan Nasional’s Gerakan and Umno’s Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, as well as the Bar Council.