This press statement is a response to YB Siti Zailah’s recent video to handle stress in a marriage during the Movement Control Order (MCO).
Sisters in Islam (SIS) urges the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development (MWFCD) headed by YB Datuk Seri Rina Harun and Deputy Minister, YB Dato’ Hajah Siti Zailah to be clear with their message on protecting women and children from abusive households especially during this Movement Control Order (MCO).
The 5 minute 18 second video showed Siti Zailah speaking and giving out marriage advice to handle stress which included being patient with their spouses and accepting their flaws by thinking of their other 1,000 strengths, saying thank you and forgiving each other and sitting down or for Muslims, taking their ablution to calm down when feeling angry.
While those are general advice for any marriages and relationships, the video by Siti Zailah gives out an underlying tone that women should accept, remain patient and forgive their partners despite their partners’ abusive attitude. This is unacceptable as Deputy Minister of Women, Family and Community Development, she should be empowering women by affirming that they deserve to live a life free from violence and fear and to reiterate that women and children’s safety are the utmost priority for the MWFCD.
Siti Zailah should make YAA Dato’ Dr. Hj. Mohd Na’im, Director General of the Department of Syariah Judiciary Malaysia’s recent video on handling abusive marriages during the MCO an example. In his video, YAA Dato’ Dr. Hj. Mohd Na’im advised women to protect themselves and their children by not being their husband’s punching bag and to have the courage to leave the house, if they are abused. He also mentioned that a wife will not be “nusyuz”* if she left the house from her abusive husband and that all of us have the responsibility to protect our bodies from harm.
Her video shows that the MWFCD fails to understand deeply the issue and dynamics of being in an abusive marriage or relationship, especially during the MCO that has been extended for another 2 weeks. Furthermore, Siti Zailah mentioned that the MWFCD through Talian Kasih 15999 has taken action towards 100 percent of the complaints received. What actions have been taken exactly? How do the 3 tips given by Siti Zailah then serve the purpose of promoting Talian Kasih 15999?
SIS would like to reiterate and urge the MWFCD to focus on protecting women and children instead of advising women to please their husbands, accept and be patient of their husband’s abusive nature as women and children are exposed to violence more during the MCO.
Sisters in Islam
11 April 2020