SIS' Public Forum: Child’s Rights in Malaysia
Sisters in Islam has organized a public forum on 9th September as one of the efforts to combat the growing issue of Child’s Rights in Malaysia. The forum contained two separate sessions; “Perkahwinan Kanak-Kanak: Dewasa Sebelum Waktu” (Child Marriage: Adulthood Before Time) which focuses on the issue of Child Marriage in Malaysia while the second session entitled “Bin Abdullah: Antara Stigma, Hak dan Agama” (Bin Abdullah: Between Stigma, Rights and Religion) highlighted the recent roar on the ‘Anak Tak Sah Taraf’ (illegitimate child) case involving the Court of Appeal and NRD.
Both sessions have received overwhelming responses from the public. The first session featured YB. Dr. Siti Mariah (A member of Parliament - Stakeholder, talks about Pakatan Harapan women's wing urge to raise the minimum marriageable age of girls in Malaysia to 18), Dr. Nur Rofiah (A lecturer from Perguruan Tinggi Ilmu Al-Quran, Jakarta. Talks from the Islamic perspectives and the situation in Indonesia in regards to the issue of Child Marriage), Dr. Sharifah Syahirah (Academician, shared her research on child marriage in Malaysia), and Nizam Bashir (A Syariah and Civil lawyer who explained how the current laws in Malaysia impacted the realities of child marriage in Malaysia) whereas the panelist for the second session are Dato’ Ismail Yahya (Former Mufti of Terengganu, gave a comprehensive explanation of the terms and status of "Anak Tak Sah Taraf") , Dr. Nur Rofiah (Lecturer from Perguruan Tinggi Ilmu Al-Quran, Jakarta. Explained the differences of thoughts and opinions regarding "Anak Tak Sah Taraf" in Indonesia), Syed Azmi (A social activist, shared his experiences and lived realities stories) and Ahmad Munawir (A Syariah lawyer, commented and share his opinions and thoughts on the recent decision made by the Court of Appeal on "Bin Abdullah" issue) .
The diverse crowd that attended both sessions proved that the child’s rights issue in Malaysia is a concern for everyone. The public forum was initially held to create an alternative platform for discussion yet it sparks not only exchanges of thoughts and perspectives but also ideas and networks between the panellist and the participants. This is a good start in expecting more actions in tackling the worrying problems of child's rights in Malaysia.