From with The Star Online with thanks to Mentat.
Marina Mahathir is an author, newspaper columnist and social activist, a Muslim, and the daughter of a former Prime Minister of Malaysia.
With the end of that racist system, people may be forgiven for thinking that apartheid does not exist anymore. While few countries practise any formal systems of discrimination, nevertheless you can find many forms of discrimination everywhere. In many cases, it is women who are discriminated against. In our country, there is an insidious growing form of apartheid among Malaysian women, that between Muslim and non-Muslim women.
We are unique in that we actively legally discriminate against women who are arguably the majority in this country, Muslim women. Non-Muslim Malaysian women have benefited from more progressive laws over the years while the opposite has happened for Muslim women.
For instance, since the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976, polygamy among non-Muslims was banned. Previously men could have as many wives as they wanted under customary laws. Men’s ability to unilaterally pronounce divorce on their wives was abolished and, in its place, divorce happens by mutual consent or upon petition by either spouse in an equal process where the grounds are intolerable adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion of not less than two years, and living separately for not less than two years. Compare that to the lot of Muslim women abandoned but not divorced by their husbands.