Mariam Mokhtar: Women’s Minister Must Resign or Be Sacked

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She is out of touch with 21st Century Malaysia, has no clue about modern marriages and has let women and children down!


Is the Minister for Women and Family clueless about modern-day living? Does she or members of her team, scrutinise the ministry’s advice before it is made public?

On 30 March, several posts on the Ministry’s official Instagram account urged women to refrain from arguing with their husbands or nagging them to do household chores. The ministry also urged wives to speak with the squeaky voice of Doraemon, a Japanese cartoon character and ‘giggle coyly’. Is this professional?

Why did the Ministry not offer any suggestions to the husbands? Did the Ministry forget? Are husbands not part of the family unit?

The Ministry’s advice for wives and working mothers during the movement control order (MCO) is not just insulting to women, it is also patronising and condescending. It belittles the efforts of women who have fought hard for equality in Malaysia.

The ministry also advised working mothers, who had to work from home, during the MCO, to stay focused and productive. One of the tips was to avoid wearing home clothes, but to wear make-up and dress neatly.

Isn’t the ministry aware that women who usually work from home, know that their attire does not determine the quality of their work?

It is discipline that matters.

When the ministry’s advice provoked a public outrage, the Instagram posts were removed and an apology was offered, with the remark. “We would like to apologise if several tips were inappropriate or if they touched on the sensitivities of certain groups.”

The wording of the apology, and reference to the “sensitivities of certain groups” is odd. To which ‘groups’ did the ministry allude?

Are the women who lead this ministry out of touch with reality? Do they lead their lives as women in the Middle Ages, when females were seen as mere objects and had to do the husband’s bidding all the time?

In 21st Malaysia, both husband and wife contribute towards the efficient working of the household. We do not live in a patriarchal society where women are repressed.

Recently, various women’s groups warned that the number of domestic violence cases will increase during the MCO, because both the abuser and victim will be forced together, all day. There will be increased tension and stress with little chance of escape for the victims, or a chance to seek help as their movements are constantly being watched.

The ministry needs to engage with women’s groups like the Women’s Aid Organisation, before it issues statements that present the ministry in a very bad light.

The administration of Muhyiddin Yassin has been seen to lurch from one bad ministerial misjudgement to another. From the Health Minister and his tepid water treatment for Coronavirus, to the Minister for Housing, who thinks that disinfecting the streets, in a publicity stunt, is a priority, when the money allocated for this exercise could have been better spent on Coronavirus test kits for key frontline workers. There is also the Deputy Minister for Women, whose focus is on the uniforms for MAS Muslim cabin crew members.

The Women’s Minister appears to be clueless. There are more important issues to deal with, than nagging wives and husbands who refuse to do household chores.

The Minister for Women could have said that in 21st Malaysia, women are joint breadwinners, and men should make similar contributions in the house. Her attitude suggests that she has a lot to learn about modern marriages and she should realise that men must also assume responsibility in the home. Is she aware about the increse in domestic violence cases?

We know that many of the Covonavirus cases in Malaysia stemmed from the tabligh gathering at the Sri Petaling Mosque in Kuala Lumpur. Many of the participants, have failed to forward for testing to stem the spread of the disease.

The Minister for Women could have urged women to persuade any of the members of their household, who were at the tabligh gathering to contact the authorities so that they can be tested, quarantined and treated. This is one positive way in which the minister could have used her powers to motivate women.

Sadly, the calibre and performance of the ministers in Muhyiddin’s administration do not inspire confidence in the rakyat. His ministers appear to be outdoing one another in their mediocrity and abysmal policies.

We look forward to the day, when a racially balanced, progressive, inclusive, engaging, and forward-thinking ministerial cabinet is able to lead Malaysia out of the mess that we are now in.