View Full Version : Sexy & Article 8

Cool Hand Luke
09-01-2004, 09:22 AM
Malaysiakini (8th January 2004)

Dressing sexily is not the same as indecency

11:54am Thu Jan 8th, 2004

Abdul Rahman Abdul Talib of PAS PJ Utara said that it was "a prevalent warped perception that tolerance to intoxication is akin to having a progressive outlook on life" (PAS’ policy on liquor is progressive’).

The question of whether intoxication, gambling or dressing sexily is a vice is culturally subjective and in any event also depends on whether they are indulged in excessively, moderately or occasionally as far as the first two "vices" are concerned.

Having sips of wine to enhance the flavour of the food has nothing to do with intoxication. Neither is gambling on certain occasions like festive seasons equal to regular pilgrimage up to Genting and losing one's entire net worth nor dressing sexily the same as indecency. Let’s take into consideration the various gradations of behaviour and not generalise in the abstract.

The question however goes beyond what is vice.

The question is whether even if intoxication, gambling or dressing sexily are ‘vice’, is it progressive outlook for Terengganu state government or any governmental authority to impose morality and virtue, chastise, proscribe and prosecute the populace for "vice" especially one of culturally and racially heterogeneous mix?

This has been carried on to the extent of PAS Terengganu state government now restricting non-Muslim women from wearing short-sleeved blouses, tight-fitting jeans, mini-skirts or skirts with slits during office hours and holding the employers responsible for ensuring this. I also learned that a Christmas bash had been forced to stop at 12 midnight.

Now Article 8 of the federal constitution guarantees a citizen the right to freedom of expression.

It is the heart of freedom of expression that the individual is accorded the choice of either virtue or vice.

The fundamental premise of freedom of expression - and speech - is that vice like falsehood should not be forcibly suppressed but allowed expression so that it may collide against virtue.

In that process, the virtuous will by comparison have a clearer perception, deeper understanding and livelier impression of their own virtue. To suppress others for vice is to implicitly suggest that the presence of vice cannot be tolerated because it may affect deviate and corrupt the virtuous. If that were the case, the ‘virtuous’ is not that strong in their belief of virtue, isn’t it that it cannot tolerate the existence of the opposite for fear of being influenced?

In all events my personal view is that an individual should be granted moral choices to be virtuous or otherwise. What is the merit of a person behaving virtuously not because he has a choice and chooses virtue over vice but because he has no choice and by force of government edicts behaves virtuously for fear of punishment and ostracism?

The constitution guarantees freedom of expression because of the implicit premise that humans are not infallible and that it is only in an environment of contrariety where people are allowed to express and collide different thoughts, behaviour and beliefs that the best results and truth be obtained.

So is the enforcement of dress codes on Muslims and even non-Muslims a more progressive outlook on life where LCH’s tolerance of intoxication is chided for pretending to be so?

Even leaders and laws are not infallible. This is admitted by even the squeaky clean Singapore government. In a report on page 13 of The Sun (Jan 7) and after so many decades, the Singapore government is now contemplating decriminalising consensual oral sex between heterosexuals above 16 years of age in private because the relic of colonial law against it has ceased to be relevant in today’s context. Is this decriminalising immorality and is that a progressive or retrogressive outlook to life on the government's part?

So far PAS’ platform is that the federal constitution itself is fallible as man-made secular laws, which should therefore be abridged by higher Almighty’s laws.

But as the ex-premier Tun Mahathir always reiterated, could PAS leaders who are fallible humans, claim knowledge to prescribe infallible Almighty’s laws unless they claim infallibility themselves?

The protection of freedom of expression in Article 8 of the federal constitution is precisely intended by its promulgators to safeguard citizenry against encroachments of their rights against bigotry of the overzealous and the extreme.

It is secular only because it is neutral – and because it tolerates the flowering of different cultures within Malaysian identity and different religious practices of different communities.

As the constitution being basic law affects ultimately every aspect of public and private life, it has, in a polyglot cultural environment, to play an impartial referee and not a partisan unfairly siding one religious system over the others.

Fallible or otherwise the federal constitution has worked the last 47 years to bring to the country comparative peace, harmony and prosperity.

We all have to take sides whether we are for or against the constitution based on the premises earlier stated for there is no way the constitutional position can ever be reconciled with PAS’ theocratic agenda.

Cool Hand Luke
09-01-2004, 09:40 AM
Hadi slammed for his Outdated Views

KUALA BERANG: Puteri Umno has urged Terengganu Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang to conduct a course for men so that they do not view women as mere sex objects.

Its head Datuk Azalina Othman Said said when men sexually assaulted women, the problem lay not with women but with men.

She said it was not related to dressing as even Muslim women who used the tudung (headcover) were raped.

“Even children who cannot entice the feeling of lust have been molested and raped by men.

“One should not measure women by what they wear and connect it with lust,” she told newsmen yesterday after the launching of the Puteri Umno general election machinery here by Umno secretary-general Tan Sri Mohd Khalil Yaakob.

Azalina was commenting on the statement by Hadi that the dress code ruling by the Kuala Terengganu Municipal Council was a moral issue, saying he stood by the council’s decision.

Last week, council president Dr Sulaiman Abdullah said Muslim women working in business premises must wear the tudung failing which their employers would be compounded up to RM250 under the licensing regulations.

He said non-Muslim women must be decently dressed according the dressing norms of the community, adding mini-skirts were not allowed.

Azalina urged Hadi to conduct a survey among women in the state to find out their feelings on the dress code.

She said Hadi was too preoccupied with women and their dressing instead of solving problems faced by single mothers and career women.

“But since he is always talking about women and dressing, he seems to think that the role of women is only to entice lust among males.

“This is an outdated thinking of people who lack knowledge. I’m disappointed with him,” she added.