Wednesday, June 3, 2009

BEAUTY & THE BEAST ~ Malaysian style?

Probe allegations against Kelantan prince
Letter to Malaysiakini from Frankly Xroy | Jun 2, 09 5:38pm

I refer to the Malaysiakini report Manohara: I was treated like an animal.

In the first place Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak who, according to your reports, knew this prince, was shielded from the Indonesian press seeking answers from him during his recent trip to Jakarta.

Secondly you report that she was raped at the age of fifteen. If indeed there was any form of sexual relations with her at that age where penetration took place, regardless if there was consent or not on her part, it is rape. Sexual intercourse with a minor is statutory rape and if that is the case, it has to be treated accordingly.

Apparently our deputy prime minister does not see the real issue here - it is no longer a ‘personal problem.' It is an allegation of abduction and rape and those are criminal acts and the prince is not immune from criminal prosecution if this is the case.

The intervention of the Indonesian and American officials coupled with the assistance of the Singapore police in this case goes to show that this is not merely a ‘personal problem' as suggested by our deputy prime minister - it goes further than that.

This attitude of our top brass has now been ingrained in their mindset in that all these things seem to trifle for them and that there is no need to interfere. We have had too many of such incidents here where they seem to accuse innocent people of heinous crimes and overlook the really serious allegations.

The name of the nation is at stake as a royal prince has had criminal allegations made out against him. There have been allegations of a person attempting to inject Ms Manohara Odelia Pinot with a substance, there have been reports that the prince was shouting at her when she left and there have also been reports that the prince allowed her to leave.

I am sure we can have independent testimony for the same from the Singapore police, the American officials and the Indonesian officials.

‘To date, we have not been dragged into it, so we want to leave it as it is,' the Malaysian deputy prime minister told reporters in Kuala Lumpur, AFP reported.

However, he did not say that at an earlier stage, the prime Minister of Malaysia steered himself clear of the press regarding this issue in Indonesia.

Even if the Indonesian president ‘arranged' it, out of sheer respect for the Indonesian people, he (the prime minister) should have met the Indonesian press.

The Malaysian deputy prime minister should also be aware that Manohara's mother was refused entry into Malaysia and that the official mouthpiece of the government carried an article of Ms Pinot smiling in the presence of the prince indicating all was alright.

The government needs to investigate the allegations of criminal assault, statutory rape, or rape whichever the case may be, abduction and the drugging of a person in captivity on one side and malicious talk against our royalty on the other.

This has to be done transparently to ensure our good name is kept intact.

Whether this government is capable of such an exercise after all the recent events in this country is something we are not too confident about.

Will our foreign minister want to go back to Washington again and meet with Hillary Clinton?

Manohara Odelia Pinot (right) with her sister Dewi Sari Asih

Alleged royal violence not a 'personal matter'

Prema Devaraj | Jun 2, 09 5:36pm

We refer to the Malaysiakini report Manohara: I was treated like an animal.

The Women's Centre for Change Penang (WCC) views with great concern the allegations made by Indonesian teenager, Manohara Odelia Pinot regarding the physical, emotional and sexual violence she has endured in her marriage to Kelantan Prince, Tengku Temenggong Mohammad Fakhry.

A nightmare world of stiff upper lips, fake smiles and stuffy protocol

WCC is glad to see that the Foreign Affairs Ministry has offered to help if Manohara files a complaint and we would strongly encourage Manohara to file a complaint, as well as lodge a police report so that investigations can commence.

Domestic violence is a criminal offence. Under the Domestic Violence Act (1994), domestic violence includes causing or threatening to cause physical injury, confining a person, damaging property or forcing a person to do something she can legally refuse to do.

A person found guilty of committing these acts can be charged under the Penal Code.

Domestic violence has been increasing steadily in recent years. In 2007, there were 3,756 cases of domestic violence reported to the police nationwide. These figures are said to only represent the tip of the iceberg as many victims tend to keep silent over the abuse they receive.

Many are ignorant of the Domestic Violence Act (1994) which can actually help protect victims from further abuse.

WCC views with deep concern the comments made by the Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin regarding Manohara's allegations.

He was reported as saying "...this is more a personal matter' and ‘ we want to leave it as it is."

Manohara and Asih

WCC would like to stress that domestic violence is not a personal matter, but is of public concern, given that it is a crime.

To have a Malaysian leader trivialise allegations of domestic violence indicates that violence against women is still not understood nor taken seriously.

Given the Malaysian government's commitment to the passing of the Domestic Violence Act (1994) and as a signatory to the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the government is duty bound to investigate these allegations.

The writer is programme director, Women's Centre for Change, Penang (WCC).