A lawmaker has caused a storm in Malaysia for saying that women who deny sex to their husbands were committing a form of “psychological and emotional abuse.”
Che Mohamad Zulkifly Jusoh from the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition was speaking during a domestic violence debate in parliament.
The Malaysian government is mulling whether to amend laws against domestic violence.
Mohamad Zulkifly, 58, from Terengganu state said men “suffered emotional rather than physical abuse.”
“Even though men are said to be physically stronger than women, there are cases where wives hurt or abuse their husbands in an extreme manner,” the BBC quoted him as saying.
“Usually, it involves wives cursing their husbands: this is emotional abuse. They insult their husbands and refuse his sexual needs. All these are types of psychological and emotional abuse.”
The politician’s stand sparked widespread outrage, including condemnation from Marina Mahathir, a women’s rights activist and daughter of former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed.
“This is an old notion, that when you marry a women you own her body. It does not work that way,” she told the AFP news agency.
“Women have a right to say no to sex. It is ridiculous to say men are abused if women say no.”
Online anger flared, following Mohamad Zulkifly’s comments on July 26.
“Social illness and corruption are problems to tackle first. Lawmakers can be sex therapists later,” said Sharkawi Lu from Labuan Island. “What a joke Malaysia has become.”
“Women are not sexual tools,” said Gopenatan Madaven. “You need to respect and share their feelings.”