PETALING JAYA, May 3 — Cheras Wanita MCA chairman Datin Heng Sinn Yee became the subject of sexist and derogatory remarks, after an image of her banner went viral on Facebook.
The banner came with an accompanying message assuring potential voters that her pregnancy and confinement period will not hamper her ability to serve the constituency that she is contesting.
“Nothing stopped her from serving you. Not pregnancy. Not confinement. Give her your vote,” the banner read.
According to Bernama, Heng, 40, is a mother of four children, who gave birth to a son early last month. She continued campaigning even during her confinement period.
Some accused Heng of using her pregnancy to gain sympathy votes, while others questioned her knowledge of Chinese confinement customs.
In Chinese culture, new mothers are required to remain indoors and adhere to a strict set of rules and taboos for 30 days from the baby’s birth as part of the postnatal recovery process.
“Are you aware that it’s taboo for a person in confinement to interact with outsiders as it potentially brings bad tidings to others?” wrote one user.
More disturbingly, others resorted to calling her a prostitute and made rape jokes.
The Malaysian Feminist, a Facebook group that raises awareness on rape culture, inequality and patriarchal-based discrimination, highlighted the issue, saying that across the world, mothers in politics such as Australian senator Larissa Waters and Icelandic MP Unnur Brá Konráðsdóttir who breastfed their babies in parliament are being celebrated.
“But in Malaysia, a pregnant parliamentary candidate receives sexist and misogynist insults, slut-shaming remarks, and insinuations that she is a bad mother for competing in this election,” The Malaysian Feminist wrote on its page.