Activist, Pakatan MPs remember Shabudin’s controversial stand on underage marriage

Shabudin Yahaya (centre) at an event to welcome him and other ex-Umno MPs into PPBM’s fold yesterday.

PETALING JAYA: A women’s rights activist has questioned PPBM’s vetting process for accepting former Umno leaders into its fold, citing the example of Tasek Gelugor MP Shabudin Yahaya’s remarks on underage marriage two years ago.

Shabudin, a former shariah judge, was among seven ex-Umno MPs whose PPBM memberships were confirmed at an event yesterday attended by party chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who said their applications had been vetted.

But Melissa Mohd Akhir from the Women’s Aid Organisation reminded PPBM of Shabudin’s speech in Dewan Rakyat, where he had opposed the Sexual Offences Against Children Bill.

“Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders should question his acceptance into PPBM,” said Melissa, who is also a voter in Tasek Gelugor.

In April 2017, Shabudin reportedly said that there was nothing wrong with victims of statutory rape getting married to their rapists.

Shabudin subsequently claimed the media had taken his remarks out of context, saying he had never encouraged sexual crimes.

DAP’s Charles Santiago described Shabudin’s membership as “worrying”.

“I was made to understand that PH parties would consult their partners when it comes to accepting especially controversial MPs from the previous administration. If this is true, then it goes against this commitment,” the Klang MP told FMT.

“Social media reactions to Shabudin’s membership are quite telling. PH should not be accepting such controversial figures.”

Santiago said Shabudin’s entry into the ruling party would only complicate things further for PH.

“We are already suffering a trust deficit. Before long, people will say we are BN 2.0,” he added.

Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah said the former Umno MPs were known for not taking a stand against corruption and repressive methods by Barisan Nasional.

“Even now, they have not shown any sign that they are for a democratic nation,” she said.

She said those who had gone against the “will of the people” should be rejected as there were “many good people” to count on.

Amanah’s Wanita chief Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud meanwhile said Shabudin and the others had the right to join any party they wanted. She added however that they must now abide by PH’s values.

“Women leaders in PH are against child marriage. We believe that the marriage age should be set at 18 so that children can complete the minimum education,” she said.

She asked if Shabudin’s stand on the issue had changed.

“I think now, when he engages with women leaders in PH, I am sure he will see our point of view.”

Yesterday, Shabudin, along with former minister Hamzah Zainuddin, former deputy ministers Mas Ermieyati Samsudin and Abdul Latiff Ahmad, Ikmal Hisham Abdul Aziz (Tanah Merah MP), Mohamad Fasiah Mohd Fakeh (Sabak Bernam MP) and Rosol Wahid (Hulu Terengganu MP) were welcomed into PPBM’s fold.