Wan Azizah: Female Circumcision Is "Actually Cultural" In Malaysia

She was referring to Malaysian delegates who defended the practice at the United Nations Periodic Review recently.

Cover image via Malay Mail/Free Malaysia Today (edited)

Female circumcision is a cultural practice in Malaysia, according to Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail

Image via Malay Mail

"It (female circumcision) is actually something that is cultural... We've had this since before," Wan Azizah was quoted as saying by Malay Mail today, 15 November. 

The Deputy Prime Minister was referring to the explanation for female circumcision given by Malaysian delegates at the United Nations Periodic Review (UPR) on 9 November

Officials of the Women's Ministry had defended female circumcision in Geneva, Switzerland, claiming that it is a "cultural obligation" rather than being a form of female genital mutilation (FGM). 

New Straits Times reported that the comment attracted criticism from the National Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM), who accused Putrajaya of misleading the UPR on the issue of female circumcision. 

Female circumcision is considered a form of FGM by the UN World Health Organisation. 

Wan Azizah also stood by her ministry's assertion by attempting to distinguish female circumcision from what is being practiced in African countries

Image for illustration purposes only.

Image via Free Malaysia Today

"This is one of the things they actually say that we're not the same. The African, all the mutilation thing," the Deputy Prime Minister said. 

Nonetheless, she pledged to discuss on the medical benefits of the practice. 

"We are in discussions with the Ministry of Health... If it doesn't give any benefit, then we should do something," she added.

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