KUALA LUMPUR: Married women in Malaysia were briefly issued a set of recommendations on how to manage their households and husbands during the movement control order, including speaking in "Doraemon's voice" and giggling coyly.
The Women and Family Ministry on Monday (Mar 30) posted several tips on social media on how to avoid domestic arguments between husband and wife.
The posts, made public on both Facebook and Instagram, were taken down a day later.
“If you see your husband carry out a task in a manner that clashes with your own method, avoid nagging,” the ministry said in a since-deleted infographic.
In a separate image, the ministry said wives should instead use “humorous” words and phrases such as “this is the proper way to hang the clothes for drying, my dear (cara sidai baju macam ni lah sayangku)”.
The ministry also recommended that women should “mimic the tone of Doraemon” and follow their statements with a coy and feminine laugh.
In a third graphic, the ministry said that wives should refrain from making sarcastic comments if they see their husbands not helping with housework.
“Ask for help and inform him – in some cases, our partner needs to be ‘told’ of their responsibility in order for them to be aware of what needs to be done,” the post read.
Should arguments arise and strain feelings, the ministry advised women to “count from one to 20” before responding.
"Within the span of 20 seconds, the brain will become more rational and calm when making decisions,” it said.
In a Facebook post last Friday, which was still available as of Tuesday evening, the ministry also urged wives to avoid wearing “home clothes” during the movement control order: “Present yourself as per usual, wear makeup and dress neatly.”
In the same post, the ministry also recommended that working mothers keep the dining table, kitchen and living room clean and neat to help maintain a clear mind when working from home.
Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on Mar 25 announced that the movement control order would be extended by two weeks until Apr 14 to contain the further spread of COVID-19.
He urged Malaysians to stay at home to break the chain of infection and said that this was the only way to contain the situation.
WOMEN ARE HUMAN BEINGS, NOT AN OBJECT: NGO
The women ministry's social media posts have drawn flak from All Women’s Action Society (AWAM), a non-governmental organisation.
In a series of tweet, AWAM called the ministry out for the the "sexist" tips.
"While dressing up to work is one way of maintaining discipline and a route while working from home, the focus on look, dress and makeup is absolutely unnecessary," it said.
It added in another tweet: "(Giggling like Doraemon) applies to five-year-olds, not mothers at home."
Women are human beings and not an object or a commodity, it said.
"Women have more than enough to do during the MCO without the added pressure of putting on makeup and looking good."
The Women and Family Ministry said in a statement issued on Tuesday night that it is "sorry if several of the shared tips were unsuitable or touched on the sensitivities of certain parties".
The ministry added that it has received feedback from several parties in response to their tips, and that it will be more careful in the future.