Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Ban, Then WHAT?

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Ban Polygamy, Prevent Tragedies

Mariam Mokhtar/MsianMirror
Monday, 02 August 2010 15:52

OPINION The High Court found Rosniza Ibrahim not guilty of strangling her two children but ordered her to be sent to a mental hospital. Thirty-year-old Rosniza was suffering from depression when she killed her two sons, aged two and six, in Bayan Lepas in 2007.

Mariam Mokhtar ni mungkin ada hubung-kait dgn Sisters in Islam..

Tak pun kepala bana Sisters in Islam sedara mara dia..

Kalau dalam Sisters in Islam, perempuan pun boleh jadi imam..thee he he

We don't ban polygamy so to prevent tragedies..

The way we don't ban PROTONG to prevent accidents.. PROTONG is well known with its lousy safety features..thee he he the brakes, the tyres, the engines..and what not

"Even better to ride a donkey" - a columnist in a foreign auto magazine..

We don't ban polygamy, after all who are we? But we can discourage people from committing polygamy..

The way we can always discourage people from buying PROTONG..thee he he lousy national 'MamakKutty' car.

Justice Mohd Zaki Mohd Yassin said, “The accused was under serious depression between 2000 and 2007 owing to family problems and with her husband wanting to marry again."

Rosniza’s mental incapacity caused her to remain in isolation, not venturing out of the house, refusing to talk to the neighbours, being confused, losing faith in God and losing confidence in herself.

Mod Zaki added, "The extreme emotional pressure drove her to beat herself often with a piece of rubber hose".

We can only presume that when Rosniza’s mental pain became intolerable, she snapped and killed her sons.

No woman will harm her own children: Not unless she is driven to despair.

Is her husband culpable? Most definitely. But he is not the only problem.

Malaysian Muslim men are allowed to be polygamous. Both Rosniza and her husband are the unfortunate pawns of this system that supports polygamy. The tragic victims are the two boys who were killed.

The system makes it easy for men to remarry. The welfare of the first wife and her children are often ignored. The system is lax, with poor controls, so that men rarely think of the consequences of polygamy.

Men know that as long as they show ‘intent’ to provide equally, they are permitted a subsequent wife. The reality is neither rosy nor beautiful as claimed by supporters of polygamy.

Men who fail to obtain the first wives' permission, will register their marriage in another state or across the border. Men who fail to register the new marriage, only pay a fine of RM1,000. Men pay maintenance to the first wife for a few months and then claim unforeseen financial constraints.

In extreme circumstances, some men abandon their wives to avoid paying maintenance, which makes it impossible for these women to remarry.

It is of little consequence if the first wife is young, like 30-year-old Rosniza, or is someone in her sixties. Any woman when informed of her husband’s polygamy feels her whole world caving in.

Has any man put themselves in their first wife’s shoes? Will he mind being shared? Will he deny the children his full attention to cater to their emotional needs? How about the provision for material goods such as clothes, a decent home or even the financial means for a good education?

Rosniza’s humiliation meant even her family couldn’t offer her emotional support.

Every woman whose husband acquires a new, more youthful wife is given a living “death sentence” because they know, the bulk of the husband’s income and devotion will go to the younger wives.

According to the Centre of Research on Women’s Development (Kanita), University of Science Malaysia (USM) director Rashidah Shuib, many first wives cannot get financial aid from the government as they are told to rely on their husbands.

As existing policies fail to protect the rights of women and children, several broken families arise.

Do policymakers hear the voices of the women who are suffering in polygamy? Is society aware of the reality of their lives? The rights of these women and children are often violated.

One man I know justified polygamy because he said there were too many women in Malaysia. He quoted a ratio of one man to eight women in the country.

When told that Malaysian statistics showed that the ratio of men to women was almost parity, his retort was that women who disapproved of polygamy were simply ‘jealous’.

Although Islam advocates equality and justice for women, it appears that many Malay men do not share the same opinion. Several women suffer in silence because they are afraid of incurring the wrath of men and are fearful of breaking the law, although the laws that are supposed to protect them are constantly broken by men.

If laws relating to marriage and divorce are not enforced, then polygamy should be banned.

This will force men to focus on forming stable, lasting relationships rather than think they can opt out of marriage by shelving their problems to one side and marrying a younger, emotionally immature wife, only to wreck her life when he tires of her.

Muslim women are not cars that must be traded in for a newer model. Sometimes cars receive better treatment.

* The views expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysian Mirror and/or its associates.

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