Sunday, 10 July 2011

Ambiga Sreenevasan - 'Steel Magnolia'

Keeping up with the spirit of the historical rally that took place yesterday, today's post will be about our 'Steel Magnolia' Yang Berbahagia Dato' Ambiga Sreenivasan. Many of us have never heard about her up until a few weeks ago when the Bersih rally was starting to gain momentum.

We all know her as the Chair of the Bersih 2.0 rally. But before that, she has had a colourful past and have received many accolades for her efforts. She was the 24th President of the Malaysian Bar Council, from 2007-2009. It was during this time that she has stood up for religious tolerance and was the lawyer for Lina Joy in her apostasy case. Ambiga has argued that Article 121(1A) of the Contstitution of Malaysia does not deprive Muslims from equality and freedom of religion. Acting in her capacity as President of the Malaysian Bar Council, Ambiga accepted a memorandum on the formation of an inter-faith commission, which also made 14 demands. Ambiga further held a forum on Article 121(1A) concerning syariah law and the rights of Muslims for freedom of religion, despite objections from conservative Muslim groups.

The highest point of her career was when she received the 2009 Secretary of State's International Women of Courage Award. It was awarded to only eight women in the world and was presented by none other than Hillary Clinton and First Lady Michelle Obama.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and first lady Michelle Obama's presence when giving away Secretary of State's Award for International Women of Courage to Malaysia's Ambiga Sreenevasan (Malaysian Bar Council) at the State Department in Washington DC (AFP)

Hillary Clinton's speech while presenting the award :" Our final speaker, Ambiga Sreenevasan, has a remarkable record of accomplishment in Malaysia. She has pursued judicial reform and good governance, she has stood up for religious tolerance, and she has been a resolute advocate of women’s equality and their full political participation. She is someone who is not only working in her own country, but whose influence is felt beyond the borders of Malaysia. And it is a great honor to recognize her and invite her to the podium." (Applause.)

The sad part of it all that was that we should have been so proud (and are) of our own Malaysian receiving an international award like this, but the Malaysian government and press don't see it as important enough to publish it in our local dailies! It was only published by THE SUN but rather small and hidden in the inner pages.

Never mind if they don't publish in the papers......lets circulate ........ This Picture Made It To the Pages of India Times but not in our own papers!

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