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Divorce, PAS style

“It is a verbal oath. Under the oath, a candidate promises not to sell out the party or hop to another party. If the candidate does it, he will have to divorce his wife.”

SHAH Alam PAS Member of Parliament (MP) Khalid Samad, explaining a loyalty oath imposed on PAS legislators. Under the oath, PAS’s elected representatives promise to divorce their wives if they ever switch parties. It is unclear how or if the oath would apply to PAS’s women legislators. Khalid clarified that the oath currently applies to Selangor PAS only, and is binding upon both federal and state legislators. (Source: Malaysia Islamic MPs vow divorce if party change, AFP as quoted on Channel NewsAsia, 8 Nov 2009)

“Politics is not a game. It is a serious commitment. We cannot break the people’s trust. We put our wives on the line. It is to demonstrate that we do not betray the voters.”

Khalid again, responding to allegations that the practice was demeaning and degrading to women. (Source: Malaysia Islamic MPs vow divorce if party change, AFP as quoted on Channel NewsAsia, 8 Nov 2009)

“There is nothing wrong with the oath. If you don’t know [whether you will jump party], then don’t join politics … This is our political strength. The voters have given us great trust and it cannot be betrayed. This is a religious issue, not a political one. This oath is there to protect the trust.”

PAS central working committee member and Salor state assemblyperson Datuk Husam Musa, defending the oath. He also said he was willing to take it, and accused the Barisan Nasional (BN) of sour grapes because no PAS representatives could be enticed to cross over. (Source: PAS ‘oath of loyalty’ kicks up a storm, New Straits Times, 10 Nov 2009)

Of course, Husam was right in one sense. The BN did pounce on this scandal, and two of its ministers came up with some strongly worded statements:

“I cannot fathom how they could resort to something so degrading and mean. What happens if their wives are apolitical? It’s just so sad.”

Women, Family and Community Development Minister and Umno Wanita chief Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil on the oath. She added that it was “ridiculous” and such things “shouldn’t be happening to Muslim women and children”. (Source: Malaysia Islamic MPs vow divorce if party change, AFP as quoted on Channel NewsAsia, 8 Nov 2009)

“Divorce is not a trivial matter that can be put at stake just to prove one’s loyalty to a political party … This is an abuse and cruelty towards innocent parties. Islam abhors cruelty and abuse.”

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of religious affairs Datuk Jamil Khir Baharom, also condemning the oath. (Source: PAS slammed over divorce-linked loyalty oath, The Star, 7 Nov 2009)

But what did some of PAS’s Pakatan Rakyat partners think? Surprisingly, one representative from the staunchly secular DAP supported the loyalty oath:

“It means they will not leave their party or their wives. It shows their commitment to the party.”

The DAP’s Seputeh MP and Kinrara state assemblyperson Teresa Kok. (Source: Malaysia Islamic MPs vow divorce if party change, AFP as quoted on Channel NewsAsia, 8 Nov 2009)

Even more surprisingly, PAS was rebuked by two Muslim MPs from Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR):

“Dasar ini mengembalikan kita balik ke zaman jahiliah, di mana wanita menjadi bahan dagangan, pajakan dan gadaian. Tidakkah kita sedar bahawa perceraian adalah perkara halal yang paling dibenci Allah! Dan kita jadikan perkara yang paling dibenci Allah ini sebagai dasar bai’ah dan sumpah taat setia!”

PKR’s Kulim-Bandar Baru MP, Zulkifli Noordin, condemning the loyalty oath. In his Malay-language blog post, he said it was “the most mind-boggling and shocking policy” he had heard of. “It is unfortunate for any movement that holds Islam at the core of its struggle to make an oath like this part of its policy,” he wrote. (Source: Mempertuhankan politik: Bai’ah talaq!, Zukifli Noordin’s blog, 7 Nov 2009)

Even Perak mufti Datuk Seri Dr Harussani Zakaria piped in and, like Zulkifli, condemned PAS for turning something “God detests” into party policy.

“Islam does not teach its followers to punish a person out of someone else’s wrong deeds. The representatives are putting their wives as a wager in their political life, which is very unfair. To embarrass their wives in such a way is prohibited in Islam.”

PKR Wanita chief and Ampang MP Zuraida Kamaruddin was also against the oath, and was “surprised” that PAS had “resorted to an action which was sinful in Islam.” (Source: PAS ‘oath of loyalty’ kicks up a storm, New Straits Times, 10 Nov 2009)

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2 Responses to “Divorce, PAS style”

  1. ellese says:

    Khalid has gone bonkers not knowing what is right or wrong anymore. He and Teresa still do not realise how repugnant [this ruling is] to any civilised social norms and values. Shame on Khalid.

  2. ellese says:

    Why did you not also quote what Nik Aziz said on this statement? Nik Aziz called those who question this issue as being anti-Islam (see Malaysian Insider article). This is an absolute horrendous statement.


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