Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Working as an anti-vice volunteer must be exciting and titillating. You never know what or who you may discover behind locked hotel room doors, behind coconut trees on the beach or inside cars parked at lovers' haunts.

"We go to places identified as hot spots to catch the culprits in the act. We listen for sounds of heavy breathing and kissing. We observe and wait for a while to get evidence for prosecution purposes if they are Muslim couples. Then we move in and aim our torchlights on the young couples who are usually naked," says one such volunteer who reportedly has had enough. He is calling it quits after six years of nabbing 1,200 naked couples doing 'it' on the beaches in Terengganu.

Gee, this is one case of burn-out I never thought I would read about.

So what are the authorities going to do about it? Their plan? "Light up the beaches and intensify patrols at hot areas." Well, good luck in their fight against raging hormones! If years of patrolling the beaches has only resulted in more khalwat cases, it's obvious this approach doesn't work.

According to statistics from The National Registration Department, a total of 257,000 birth certificates issued between 2000 and July 2008 did not bear the names of parents. This translates into 2500 babies born out of wedlock monthly or 84 cases daily. In 2009 alone, Malays top the list with 17,303 such cases. That works out to 1442 cases a month!

What is shocking is not the number of illegitimate babies, but the high incidence of babies abandoned at roadsides or left at dump-sites, often to die. The young mothers have nowhere and no one to turn to. They see no other way out of their predicament. They should be given all the help possible. Punishment and condemnation are the last things they need.

If the harsh approach of fire and brimstone, imprisonment and social ostracism doesn't seem to work, perhaps what is needed is love, forgiveness and support from the family of young unmarried mothers, and a sense of duty and responsibility from young unmarried fathers.

While our leaders are lamenting the 'moral decline' among our youths, we have laws in our country that allow child marriages. Did you know that the marriage of children below the age of 16 is permitted with the consent of the Syariah Court? When a man old enough to be the father or the grandfather of the child is legally allowed to marry that child, that, in my view, is morally wrong, and bordering on paedophilia.

With the appointment of the first two women Syariah Court judges at the Putrajaya and Federal Territory courts, hopefully there will be greater protection and justice for Muslim women in the country.

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