Rina’s deafening silence yet another sign of incompetence

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Minister more interested in her own self-image than the interests and welfare of stakeholders which her Ministry oversees.

I am a mother of two girls, aged five and eight. Over the past few days, my heart breaks whenever I read news about the plight of Loh Siew Hong, whose three children were taken away from her.

It is deeply painful for a mother to be separated from her children in such a manner. I can’t imagine the anguish and torment Ms Loh would have gone through. As a mother, such an ordeal is deeply painful.

At one stage, she had no access to her own biological children but complete strangers could meet them in welfare homes. What kind of twisted double standards is this? Where is the justice in this?

At one point, she even claimed that her children, said to have been unilaterally converted to Islam by her ex-husband, were being moved around from one welfare home to another. Was this to make it difficult for Ms Loh to meet her children?

But this is not the first time such things have happened in the country. Nor will it be the last. There have been many cases of children forcibly converted by one parent, which the Federal Court has ruled is invalid, and then taken away.

Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rina Mohd Harun.

But my biggest gripe is the deafening silence of Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rina Mohd Harun on the plight of Ms Loh. Since the controversy first erupted, there has not even been a whimper from her.

How can this be when welfare homes, like the one where Ms Loh’s children were put in, falls under her jurisdiction? Is there no sense of compassion on the part of Rina? Why didn’t she admonish the welfare home for such callousness towards Ms Loh? Is this what is meant by “family development” in the name of Rina’s ministry?

Her silence over an issue of such importance can be construed as a tacit approval for the welfare department’s sheer incompetence and biasness in handling this. In other words, cases like Ms Loh’s plight may happen more frequently if officials are emboldened by Rina’s silence.

This is not the first time Rina has been silent on issues she ought to have taken a stance on. Recently, her deputy Datuk Siti Zailah Mohd Yusoff, in a video which has gone viral, advised husbands to physically “touch” their wives in a “soft but firm” way to reprimand them.

Rina’s reaction was pindrop silence despite overwhelming calls for Siti Zailah’s resignation, in the wake of rising domestic violence following lockdowns.

Since taking over the Ministry, I have not seen enough of Rina championing the rights of women, children and family development. She seems more interested in her own self-image than the interests and welfare of stakeholders which her Ministry oversees.

If Rina is not up for this job, I suggest she steps down. Let someone more capable handle this Ministry and help defend the rights of women and children.

The views expressed here are strictly those of The True Net reader Madeline Chong from Malacca.