Minister in hot water after wife-beating advice — Analysis

Malaysian women’s rights groups have said the nation’s deputy minister for family is “abhorrent” and not fit for the job

Malaysian women’s rights groups on Monday called for the deputy minister for family and women to resign, after the official sparked outrage by giving advice on wife-beating in an Instagram post.

Siti Zailah, a Sunday video posting of two-minutes duration, stated that husbands need to first communicate with their wives. “unruly”The wives can then sleep separately from their husbands for 3 days, and if this fails, the women may resort to sleeping with each other. “physical touch approach”If a husband still finds a wife too difficult, “stubborn”To comply.

“If the wife still refuses to take the advice, or change her behavior after the sleeping separation, then the husbands can try the physical touch approach, by striking her gently, to show his strictness and how much he wants her to change,”In her video, the official spoke.

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The deputy minister’s “advice” drew the ire of Malaysia’s women’s rights organizations, who accused her of normalizing domestic violence, which is outlawed in the Southeast Asian nation. A group of eight of these groups called Joint Action Group for Gender Equality – JAG) have called for Siti Zailah’s resignation over the accusations she made. “perpetuating ideas as well as behaviors that are opposed to gender equality.” 

Between 2020 and 2021 alone, there were 9,015 police reports of domestic violence in Malaysia, the association said in a statement on Monday, pointing out that this number does not include other reports received by various charities and women’s support organizations.

“As a minister who is meant to uphold gender equality and the rights of women to protection and safety, this is abhorrent, denies women the right to equality, their right to dignity and to be free from degrading treatment,”The statement was as follows:

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This group also asked Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob for immediate action. The appeal to the government was then signed by 11 other women’s rights organizations.

A Malaysian female MP and the former Vice-President of People’s Justice Party, Nurul Izzah Anwar, slammed the deputy minister’s words on Monday, calling them “detrimental and contrary to the current reality and needs.”He also stated that Malaysia experienced an increase in domestic violence during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The outrage has not been addressed by the government or Siti Zilah. Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party MP and deputy minister was previously controversial for urging wives not to talk to husbands unless they are allowed to do so. “finished eating, have prayed and are relaxed.”

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