A Malaysian lawmaker has come under fire for saying that women denying their husbands sex was a form of “psychological and emotional abuse”.
Che Mohamad Zulkifly Jusoh from the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition was addressing a domestic violence debate during a parliamentary session.
Malaysia is in talks to amend existing laws against domestic violence. The 58-year-old politician 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,” he said.
“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.”
Mr Che made the comments during a parliamentary debate on amendments to domestic violence legislation. Politicians and activist groups have expressed hopes that the new bill will offer more protection for victims of domestic abuse.
Mr Che touched on this in a speech to parliament, saying that denying a Muslim man the chance to marry a second wife also amounted to “abuse”.
‘It does not work that way’
Mr Che’s stand drew widespread outrage, including condemnation from women’s rights activist Marina Mahathir who is also the 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.”
The MP’s words follow a similar controversy in April after another ruling party politician was criticised for saying it was okay for rapists to marry their victims.