Image credit: Roger Wilkerson / Tumblr

The recent posters that were published in social media by the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development seems to be proof that they have a very male-centric mindset. This is sad, considering that this is a ministry that is supposed to be upholding the rights of and helping women. 

Society for Equality, Respect And Trust for All Sabah (SERATA) is disappointed with how the ministry seems to be making light of the seriousness of domestic violence. Their messaging through the posters seems to indicate that domestic violence can simply be solved by looking, sounding and behaving like pretty little things. They also indicate that the work in raising a family is a burden to be shouldered by women, and women alone.

We are concerned that if KPWKM continues on this trajectory with their messaging, they may produce a slew of men who think that it is permissible to be abusive to their wives if they don’t follow this “standard” of behaviour.

Women are already doing the majority of household duties and childcare, which are unpaid work, while also providing financially, whether through formal or informal means. According to a report by Khazanah Research Institute, women do twice as much of this unpaid work compared to men. While we are all restricted from leaving homes, shouldn’t the ministry be encouraging everyone in the family to share the load? This would be the perfect time for them to finally learn to do things together.

The competence of people within this Ministry is highly questionable after they fired two highly important NGO members who work with marginalized groups at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is even more so after the assistant minister has publicly indicated her support for child marriages.

I would like to remind the Ministry that the issue of women’s human rights are no easy matter, and they should consult with proper gender experts with their recommendations.


In Bahasa Malaysia:

Kami mendapati bahawa poster-poster  ini mengandungi mesej-mesej yang berat sebelah mengenai tanggungjawab keharmonian rumahtangga yang dibebankan sepenuhnya terhadap wanita sahaja. Selain itu, poster-poster tersebut juga membawa mesej-mesej yang merungsingkan seperti memakai make-up di rumah, atau menggunakan suara comel untuk mengelak keganasan rumah tangga, seolah-olah isu tersebut bukan sesuatu yang memerlukan pendekatan yang serius. 

Pada pendapat kami, mesej yang disampaikan lebih kepada menegakkan patriarki dan bukannya menamatkan patriaki yang membawa mudarat kepada bukan saja kaum wanita tetapi kaum lelaki.

Wanita sudah pun membuat kebanyakan tugasan rumahtangga dan penjagaan kanak-kanak, DAN kebanyakan mereka juga menyumbang dari segi ekonomi dengan kerja diluar rumah, tidak kira secara formal atau tidak formal. Malah, mengikut laporan dari Khazanah Research Institute, wanita membuat 2 kali ganda lebih kerja tidak berbayar ini berbanding dengan lelaki. Apabila kita semua disekat dari meninggalkan rumah oleh kerana Covid-19, bukankah lebih wajar semua ahli keluarga berganding bahu?

Menegakkan isu hak wanita dan menjaga kesejahteraan keluarga bukan lah sesuatu yang boleh dipandang ringan. Saya ingin mengingatkan kementerian untuk lebih memfokuskan usaha mereka kepada menggalakkan kesemua ahli keluarga bekerjasama dalam menjalankan tugasan rumah tangga dan penjagaan kanak-kanak.

Selain itu, dengan polemik KPWKM baru-baru ini yang memecat ahli-ahli NGO penting daripada terus menyumbang di kementerian tersebut, manakala, timbalan menterinya masih menyokong perkahwinan kanak-kanak, kita warga malaysia seharusnya bertanya, “adakah kementerian ini tidak cekap? Atau adakah kementerian ini berniat jahat?”

Kepada lelaki-lelaki Malaysia, janganlah melayan isteri anda seperti amah di rumah. Bersama-sama kekalkan keluarga bahagia! 

About the author:

Sabrina Aripen, Chairperson and Founder of Sabah’s Society for Equality and Trust For All (SERATA) wrote this statement for immediate release. What we published here are SERATA’s words in full.