Choo Choy May
World News

Women’s Rights in Malaysia

suggested Rohaya Mohamed. However, Sisters-in-Islam’s Ratna Osman notes this extraordinary argument provides justification for men’s violent behaviour, “Abusive men often use women’s behavior as a sick justification, but in the end, their actions are their responsibility.” National Public Radio reported in January of this year that the Obedient Wives Club has since moderated their positions on a whole host of issues after receiving significant pushback from Malaysian society. “The group appears to have toned down its rhetoric since last year, when media quoted members as saying that wives should satisfy the sexual desires of their husbands like prostitutes. Club member Hajiera Hartley explains that the group is simply giving its members the basic information they request about sex and marriage. ‘Simple things like, how do people kiss. Honestly, the Malays do not know how to kiss,’ Hartley says.” In the decades ahead, women’s rights in Malaysia will continue to be a contentious issue with religious leaders holding significant influence over governmental policy. This bodes poorly for women as history demonstrates that an increase in fundamentalists’ hold on power goes hand in hand with a degradation of women’s rights. It is hoped that as civil society groups and in particular, women’s rights groups make inroads within Malaysian society they may be able to progress women’s rights. This will be highly dependent on their influence on all levels of government, the activism of civil society groups, and the support of local women’s organizations. Fundamentally it is also dependent on external transnational rights groups and organisations such as the UN stepping up the pressure for women’s rights. Censure by the global community is essential if women are to be viewed as equal citizens in any society.]]>

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