So what happened after the Women's March?

Women's march KL 2019 - Pix from Google

By Nadhirah Sofea Rashid

Last Saturday's Women's March in conjunction with the International Women's Day has got into the limelight for a variety of reasons with many claiming the rally has been hijacked.

Many are wondering what exactly is the Women's March about? 

Well, the idea started as a platform to put forward issues relating to women’s rights that needs addressing.

The organisers of Women's March in Malaysia stated that the march had focused on five key demands which are ending violence based on gender and sexual orientation, banning child marriages, ensuring women's right over their own bodies and lives, ensuring a minimum wage of RM1,800 and destroying patriarchy in society.

Among the participants were members of Women’s Aid Organi­sa­tion, Sisters in Islam, activists and students.

However, the presence of LGBT participants at the march has irked many including politicians.

Kota Anggerik assemblyman Najwan Halimi twitted that LGBT participants respect others sensitivities.

"The LGBT groups need to accept the fact that the majority of Malaysians will not accepting the inverse culture they practice. 

"Respect public sensitivities. Stop claiming unreasonable things," he tweeted.

His post has seen almost 23,000 retweets.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail tweeted that she was firm with her stand that LGBT was haram and contradicted with Malaysians norms. 

De facto Islamic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa slammed the defence of LGBT rights at the march as an abuse of democratic space and was against Islamic teaching.

Bersatu supreme council member Wan Saiful Wan Jan also slammed the LGBT groups for polluting the march and destabilising the country.

Wanita Umno chief Datuk Dr Noraini Ahmad alleged that advocating LGBT rights would lead to great destruction to social institutions. 

Four police reports has been lodged by Angkatan Muda Keadilan, Penang Pakatan Harapan Youth, Selangor Bersatu Youth and Gerakan Srikandi Malaysia.

Meanwhile, Klang MP Charles Santiago urged the people and other politicians to start focusing on the rally demands and stop demonising the LGBT community.

"Instead of focusing on delivering these legitimate demands, some PH leaders have opted to single out the participation of the LGBT community as a way of carelessly dismissing the march as trivial.

"Caricaturing the march as “a misuse of democratic space” or “disgusting” only go to show an attempt at sidelining women's issues, which in itself is inconsistent with PH’s overall commitment to equality," he wrote in a statement.

He believe that the march wasn’t used to promote the LGBT community but instead to cease the increasing violence against the minority community, saying under the Federal Constitution, there should be no discrimination on the grounds of gender.

Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir also slammed PH leaders for their condemning LGBT rights group at the march.

"I’m calling you out Wan Saiful and Mujahid Rawa! You are trying to distract from addressing very real women’s issues by focusing on only one of many demands at the #WomensMarch. Shame on you! #misogyny #youreadisgrace," Marina tweeted.

Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad said people should focus on other important issues demanded at the march.

"The LGBT issue diverts people's view of the more important issues facing the women. While LGBT is a very minority group, by highlighting it you are actually helping them divert the attention away from the real problems that women is facing," he tweeted.

Another issue arising from the march is whether they had a police permit.

Do people need the permit for a peaceful demonstration?

Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the government rejected any move to organise an assembly without a permit as it would be violating the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012.

"However, I was informed that they gathered without a permit and thereby infringed the law, so I am leaving the matter to police,” he said.

According to Malaysiakini, the organising committee stated that it had notified Dang Wangi police on Feb 25, 10 days before the march.

Police are investigating the matter.

The Act stipulates that organisers need to notify the police 10 days before a march or assembly is held without any mention about applying for a permit.

Nevertheless, Malaysians must spend the time to re-evaluate the issues that the march highlighted and to further discuss for a solution.

Many of the demands voiced out in the Women's March deserves more attention, especially when it comes to the security and safety of women.