Violent attack on nuns: Symptom of worsening social inequality

Sr Julianna (above) and her colleague Sr Mary-Rose were seriously hurt - Photograph: The Star

If the struggle for fair wages and and a fair share of the nation’s wealth is not tackled, then such attacks will continue to occur, says Veronica Anne Retnam.

Sr Julianna (above) and her colleague Sr Mary-Rose were seriously hurt - Photograph: The Star
Sr Julianna (above) and her colleague Sr Mary-Rose were seriously hurt – Photograph: The Star

Women’ safety – Women have real fears walking out in the early hours of the day or later in the night. Even in the middle of the day, women are not spared. It has become increasingly dangerous for women who are targets of petty thefts, snatch thieves.

We cannot close our eyes to those whose lives were snatched away as they rode to work or walked home from work. Women’s safety cannot be compromised. PSM demands that the government play a critical role calling on the police to be present where they are needed and do their job. Apart from ensuring the safety of our streets and public spaces, there must be programmes which gear towards respect of women.

It was on 8 March 2014 that PSM made the above statement. On 14 May 2014, two elderly women were attacked in the early hours of the day outside the Church of the Visitation in Seremban.

These were not women who were on their way to work but nuns from the Congregation of the Infant Jesus who work with the poor. They had come to start their day in prayer and for morning Mass. But even these women who had chosen a life of austerity were not spared.

One of the women is still in a coma while the other is stable and undergoing treatment in hospital. The level of violence is staggering but incidents such as this have become an everyday reality for women.

PSM once again demands that urgent action be taken to ensure a police presence so that the public, particularly women, can confidently carry on their daily activities. Police become highly visible and come in big numbers when the public gather to voice their constitutional right. They must be as visible and be spread out in public spaces, on our streets, our neighbourhoods.

The public must feel safe wherever they are, be it in places of worship/church, in car parks, on streets. There must also be proactive national action for those who are in prison, drug addicts and others who may be the “aggressor” as they are often victims of circumstances, very often a result of a society with economic and social inequalities.

PSM has consistently been with the Rakyat in their struggle for fair wages and a fair share of the wealth they have struggled to create. If this isn’t addressed, then such attacks as that which happened in the morning of 14 May will continue to take place.

Veronica Anne Retnam, an Aliran member, works at the women’s desk of Parti Sosialis Malaysia.

(Visited 9 times, 1 visits today)
Thanks for dropping by! You are one of an increasing number of readers looking up Aliran for independent analyses and views. We work hard to keep these articles free for all to read. But we do need funds to continue the struggle for Justice, Freedom and Solidarity. To maintain our independence, we do not carry any advertisements; nor do we accept funding from dubious sources. So would you consider making a donation to keep us going - or why not become an Aliran member or subscribe to our FREE newsletters.


  1. Umno schmucks are not going to change their policy to share the nation’s wealth and as such the only way to gain the diminishing support from the radicals is to please them. Otherwise they will have to give up their shares of the nation’s wealth, especially they are now only a minority government and heavily in debts.
    Therefore the only way to gain the political support just to remain in Putrajaya for them to continue doing what they are so used to since independent. Is for them to be seen supporting the radicals … Hence (it is doubtful if any) punitive action will ever be taken people out to create another May 13 and then put the blame on them. I can only see the situation is going to get worse if these Umno schmucks are being retained in Putrajaya.
    It is going to be hard to get these trouble makers out of Putrajaya but the people of Malaysia have to make up their mind and have these Umno schmucks kicked out soon. Otherwise this country will for sure go to the dogs !

    • What’s worse than the “UMNO Schmucks” is the policy free zone of an opposition divided along “mine is bigger than yours” lines and policies.
      There has never been a time in our history or the history of any other nation where a change of government has brought about radical changes in crime. Maybe in certain crimes but not in crime itself.

      If they “discriminate” which every government of any substance on earth does, then at least lets compare the burden benefit equation with the NEP and other policies.

      There is a worldwide focus now (sponsored by the EU and the US) on the plight of women as if only yesterday it was discovered that women are discriminated in several areas of the economy in education and in the social spheres of societies. But so too are men. Especially poor and disabled men.

      If we lose sight and focus on the problems of inequality which are conveniently explained away in all these isms from feminism to Islamism, we will lose the battle and the war on inequality.

      The US has positive discrimination in favour of women like Australia, New Zealand, Canaada, the UK and western Europe. But even in this sphere is feminism it is the connected the powerful and the special class of women who always benefit at the expense of women of colour, foreigners, migrants and the socially backward and economically challenged. What they get are the scraps.

      In Malaysia migrants want to be Malays. There is a way around it. Marry a Malay and become Muslim. Tengku’s two Chinese wives and his English wife did it and were Bumis. Abdullah Badawi’s Eurasion wife did and and succeeded…. and the list goes on.

  2. It is not the first time women, men or children have been attacked for one reason or the other and in similar circumstances too. Why is this one attack more newsworthy than any other similar event? It is the politicization of one religion and cause at the expense of the demonization of another religion and nothing more, nothing less for the gullible to chew on.

    The moment we classify a crime on the basis of religion class colour or creed we lose that moral ground to attack anyone criminal friend or foe. Because to do what this article seeks to legitimize is to legitimize crime itself in the basis of race, colour, station, class or creed.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here