KUALA LUMPUR, March 31 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has urged husbands today to share household chores with their spouses and to ignore what he termed as “nonsensical” suggestions by the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry (KPWKM).
In a Facebook Live talk session, the PKR president said husbands and wives are a team which must work together.
“So to my brothers, apart from gardening, please clean your house. Maybe tomorrow you can take a damp cloth and wipe. Not the wife, but the husband,” he said.
“Don’t follow the Women Ministry’s new directives. Truly nonsensical and don’t think in such a way.
“Husband and wife are a team,” the Port Dickson MP added, before ending his talk.
Women’s rights groups have condemned the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development over awareness posters seen as politically incorrect.
The groups warned that the message conveyed through the posters titled “Kebahagiaan Rumahtangga” or “Household Happiness” could worsen gender stereotypes and to a certain extent encourage domestic violence.
The ministry had yesterday, released a series of posters, with one directed at mothers working from home.
The poster appeared to stress the importance of one’s appearance, advising work-at-home mothers to “groom as usual” and always look neat.
In a subsequent poster on ways to educate one’s spouse on doing household chores, to presumably avoid quarrelling, wives are advised to adopt a “Doraemon-like” tone and giggle coyly as opposed to “nagging”.
In separate statements, Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah and Kampung Tunku state assemblywoman Lim Yi Wei also expressed dismay at the suggestions by the ministry.
Maria lamented that while women’s rights groups are promoting shared responsibility in the family – including husband, boys and girls, the ministry chose instead a more disparaging approach to women’s status in the family.
“Unfortunately, their message feeds into the stereotype and perception that family and household duties are women’s responsibility and men are bread winners.
“It is unacceptable that when it comes to national crisis, as in the case of Covid-19, and where men are confined to homes, it is still the duties of the women to nurture the men’s feelings, while women must be supportive and understanding,” she said.
Lim meanwhile expressed hope that men and women who have their own households, do not adhere to the ministry’s ideas.
“To the young men and women who have their own households or who hope to have one in the future, I hope that you all would not adopt these outdated KPWKM tips, and instead, build a happy home based on the concept of shared responsibility,” Lim said.