Malaysia's government apologizes for urging women not to be 'sarcastic' to husbands during coronavirus lockdown

Malaysia's government apologizes for urging women not to be 'sarcastic' to husbands during coronavirus lockdown
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Malaysia’s government is apologizing for releasing a series of “tips” that urged women to avoid being “sarcastic” or nagging their husbands during coronavirus lockdown. 

“We apologize if some of the tips we shared were inappropriate and touched on the sensitivities of some parties,” the Ministry for Women, Family and Community Development said Tuesday in a statement obtained by Reuters.

The ministry faced international backlash following the list of “advice” for women to avoid domestic conflicts during partial lockdown, including the hashtag #WomenPreventCOVID19.

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Women were encouraged to dress up and wear makeup while at home, and one of the campaign’s posters asked women to refrain from being “sarcastic” if they need help with household chores.

Women's Development Department director-general Akhma Hassan said the aim of the campaign was to send out positive messages, according to state-run news agency Bernama.

"The approach used was to share methods and practices to maintain positive relationships within the family and during the phase of working from home," Hassan said in a statement.

Reuters noted that the online posters have since been removed.

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"[It] is extremely condescending both to women and men," Nisha Sabanayagam, a manager at the advocacy group All Women's Action Society, told Reuters. "These posters promote the concept of gender inequality and perpetuate the concept of patriarchy."

Malaysia has documented 3,116 confirmed cases of the virus and 50 deaths as of Thursday afternoon, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Last month, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin enacted a series of measures aimed at stemming COVID-19, including strict restriction of movement and lockdowns of all travel.

Since the measures were implemented, a government hotline for domestic abuse victims and vulnerable children has seen incoming calls double to nearly 2,000, Reuters reported, citing local media.