The advice of a Malaysian female minister to men to “gently” beat their “stubborn” wives to chastise them for “unruly” behaviour has angered womens’ rights groups.
Deputy Minister for Women, Family and Community Development Siti Zailah Mohd Yusoff advised men to demonstrate their “unruly” wives how strict they are and “how much he wants her to improve.”
In a two-minute video titled “Mother’s Tips” on Instagram, Yusoff advised husbands to “punish” their “stubborn” spouses by first speaking to them. However, if they did not change their behaviour, she advised men to sleep apart from their wives for three days.
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A post shared by Dato’ Hajah Siti Zailah (@sitizailahmohdyusoff)
She continued, “However, if the wife still refuses to take the advice, or change her behaviour 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 order to win over their spouse, the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party MP also advised women to speak to their spouses only if they had permission.
“Speak to your husbands when they are calm, finished eating, have prayed and are relaxed. When we want to speak, ask for permission first,” she said.
The video has gotten a lot of attention on social media.
“No human has the right to strike another.” Another wrote, “It is NEVER okay for anyone to strike another man, woman, child or animal. SHAME ON YOU,” said one user.
“What an embarrassment for Malaysian women!! How dare you represent yourself this way as a deputy minister? Hope you resign and let someone who cares about women to step in,” wrote another.
Yusoff was accused of “normalising” domestic abuse by the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality, a coalition of women’s rights organisations, who urged she resign from her post as deputy women’s minister.
“The deputy minister must step down for normalising domestic violence, which is a crime in Malaysia, as well as for perpetuating ideas and behaviours that are opposed to gender equality,” the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality said.
The women’s rights groups added, “There is often a stigma and fear attached to reporting domestic violence and this is made worse by statements such as those of Siti Zailah,”
“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. It is grossly mistaken and a demonstration of failed leadership.”