Deputy KPWKM Minister Advises Husbands To Use 'Gentle But Firm Touch' To Reprimand Wives

According to Datuk Hajah Siti Zailah Mohd Yusof, wives should use the softest language so that husbands can accept their criticism and if they get angry, wives should remain silent and not talk back which can make matters worse.

Cover image via @sitizailahmohdyusoff (Instagram)

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Recently, Deputy Women, Family, and Community Development Minister (KPWKM) Datuk Hajah Siti Zailah Mohd Yusoff took to her social media accounts to share some 'motherly' tips for married people

Among the tips shared by Siti Zailah include telling wives to take a soft approach with their husbands, and for husbands to use a "gentle but firm physical touch" to reprimand their stubborn wives.

Other tips that the PAS-Rantau Panjang member of parliament (MP) suggested are counselling, sleeping separately for three days, and advising women to ensure their husbands are calm and relaxed before confronting them over anger or undesirable behaviour, and to first seek their permission before doing so.

She shared these tips in two separate videos

In a video published on Friday, 11 February, Siti Zailah advises wives about how to rebuke husbands, especially when the husbands are sometimes angry and do things that the wives do not like.

"The best way, the first one is that we talk to the husbands when they are calm, are full and have finished eating, have prayed, and are relaxed. When we want to speak, we ask for permission first," she said.

According to Siti Zailah, wives should use the softest language so that husbands can accept their criticism and if they get angry, wives should remain silent and not talk back which can make matters worse.

In another video published yesterday, 12 February, Siti Zailah focused on how husbands, who want to guide their wives, can rebuke them

She said that sometimes a wife does not cover her aurat (safeguarding their modesty), does not follow God's commands, or does something that a husband does not like.

In such instances, husbands should advise them first.

"It is the role of the husband to educate their wives, and the same goes the other way round, too. This is to apply a bit of pressure on her to show that he does not appreciate her behaviour," she said.

However, if the wives do not heed the advice, Siti Zailah said that it is permissible in Islam for the husbands to sleep separately from the wives for three days, to show their displeasure.

"If she still refuses to change, or does things that go against Allah's commands, and does not follow discipline, the husband can use a physical touch which is soft and seeks to educate. It is full of love, which is not painful but shows firmness that the behaviour should be changed," she added in the video.

The Deputy KPWKM Minister's tips, however, have been criticised

Taking to her Twitter account, Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah tweeted to say, "Are you for real YB Minister? You put women back to the dark ages! Just be a Minister! #WomenHaveRights"

Permatang Pauh MP Nurul Izzah Anwar blasted the PAS lawmaker's 'advice' as a disservice.

"The pandemic has only seen an increase in domestic abuse with a total of 9,015 cases reported - predominantly against women. This so-called 'advice' by the deputy minister is a disservice and goes against current realities and needs," Nurul Izzah tweeted while sharing Islamic scholar Abdullah Hassan's article, in which he argues that the Quran and Islam do not permit husbands to hit their wives - lightly or not.

Bakri MP Yeo Bee Yin also took to her Twitter account to ask the Deputy Minister to resign.

"When a woman who's in power, and supposed to protect other women, advises 'gentle' physical touch to discipline wives, you know something is very wrong. Siti Zailah must resign," she tweeted.

Meanwhile, Siti Zailah's predecessor Hannah Yeoh sarcastically questioned Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob if this was the person he appointed for the KPWKM portfolio.

"She (Siti Zailah) is tasked with looking after women of all races. Please ask her to demonstrate how men should use 'gentle but firm physical touches' to discipline their wives," Yeoh tweeted.

"The danger of making a two-minute video like this — the 'gentle but firm' touch is very subjective. Ask the doctors, activists, NGOs who handle domestic violence cases every day. Is it suitable for such a topic to be discussed through a two-minute video?" The Segambut MP asked.

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A recent large-scale, nationally-representative survey found that many Malaysians undermine the complexity of the abuse and violence: