A Malaysian MP has sparked national outrage after stating that wives who refuse their husband’s sexual needs are ‘abusive’.
Che Mohamad Zulkifly Jusoh, a politician from the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition party, announced in parliament that he believes ‘withholding sex’ is ‘emotionally abusive’.
“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 told parliament during a domestic violence bill hearing.
Jusoh continued: “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.”
His comments have come under fire from Sisters of Islam, a Malay women’s rights group, who said that Jusoh has “gravely undermined” the domestic rights bill amendment.
“The injury and harm experienced by domestic violence survivors should never be trivialised in this manner,” said the group.
“Marriage is an institution bonded by a union of love and mutual respect, and within that oundaries conjugal rights between spouses should be exercised with love and respect.”
Marina Mahathir, a prominent women's rights activist, said the lawmaker's view was "based on ignorance”.
"Women have a right to say no to sex - this is an old notion that when you marry a women you own her body," she told Agence France-Presse.
”It does not work that way. It is ridiculous to say men are abused if women say no to sex."
During the same parliamentary speech, Jusoh said that denying a husband a second wife — in Malaysia men are allowed to wed up to four women as long as they obtain permission from a Sharia court — is also an act of abuse.
And the lawmaker previously sparked a national outcry after stating that girls as young as nine are “physically and spiritually” ready for marriage.
“They reach puberty at the age of nine or 12. And at that time, their body is already akin to them being 18 years old. So physically and spiritually, it is not a barrier for the girl to marry,” said the parliamentarian during a Sexual Offences Against Children bill debate.
Photos: Rex Features