Malaysia’s new state law punishes women for wearing men’s clothing | Popgen Tech


In Malaysia’s northeastern state of Terengganu, women will be punished for wearing men’s clothing and getting pregnant out of wedlock. The state also banned witchcraft and sorcery. The move has angered human rights activists in Southeast Asia. The laws, which were passed by the Terengganu state assembly earlier this month, carry penalties of up to 5,000 ringgit ($1,134), three years in jail and six lashes, or any combination of the three.

14 human rights groups, including the All Women Society, said the changes to the law violated the right to freedom of expression, equality and non-discrimination.

Terengganu is governed by the Islamic fundamentalist-oriented Parti Islam Se-Malaysia.

The new law in the Malaysian state followed a similar move by neighboring Indonesia, which banned extramarital sex and increased penalties for abortion. The bill, which became law last week, also adds restrictions on how much people can criticize Indonesia’s state institutions.

Is fundamentalism in Malaysia hurting the country’s economic situation?

While Malaysia appeared to have gained economic momentum by pouring diplomatic capital and financial machinery into last month’s landmark G20 summit and numerous investor summits this year, global funds have so far raised more than $1.2 billion from the domestic bond market in 2022 amid concerns about fundamentalism fueled by political instability in the Southeast Asian country, Bloomberg reports.

New laws for the “welfare” of Muslims

The new laws will better protect the “welfare of Muslims”, state news agency Bernama quoted state religious official Satiful Bahari Mamata as saying. He added that the ban on women behaving like men was introduced because existing laws only apply to men behaving like women.

“Because in the past this problem (women behaving like men) might not have been so much,” he told the state news agency. “But now we see cases of ‘pengkid’ (paravanchika or lesbian) and the like are becoming more common, so the state government intends to stop this problem.”

Parti Islam Se-Malaysia, or PAS as it is known, won the most seats of any party in last month’s general election. She was a proponent of turning Malaysia into an Islamic state and pushed parliament to allow her to enforce strict Islamic law in the states she controlled.

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