I am appalled and disgusted by the continuous harmful narrative that Perikatan Nasional is building that lean towards sexism and the denigration of women. The recent remarks made by two MPs from the ethno-religious coalition not only shows the quality, or lack thereof that PN has but also the unkind and disrespectful view they hold regarding women.
Last Tuesday, in his question to a Minister, Lumut MP stood up and gave an unnecessary opening line in his poem where he said “Ada hati nak tambah isteri, tambah isteri nombor 2”.
Even though Lumut MP claimed that his polygamy-themed pantun was made in jest, my question to him is, what was the point of inserting that line in the first place, if it serves no purpose? To him, are women always just mere punchlines to a joke?
Then, as what may seem to be part of a troubling pattern, Kubang Kerian MP in a section of his debate in Parliament yesterday, mentioned the notion that there are 8.4 million women who are unmarried in this country, therefore to solve this issue, polygamy should be one solution to consider as a ‘way out’ of this ‘problem’.
Having been privy to these two instances, I must say I am deeply disturbed by the pattern of thinking these Members of Parliament have about polygamy, and the role of women. They spend so much time frivolously parading it around when they should look into more pertinent issues such as the increase in divorce cases arising from adultery, failure to provide alimony and other domestic issues. To illustrate, Department of Statistics have noted as of 2021, there were 43,934 divorce cases and from that number, more than 23,000 cases involved young couples.
However, do we see PN members advocating for a better environment in which young couples can thrive? No, rather than use the time allocated to them by the rakyat, they would much prefer to campaign for polygamy because that is what gets them views and attention.
As Members of Parliament, we should ourselves to a higher regard when speaking in public. Words have the immense power to shape and influence perception so we must always be mindful of what we say.
Teo Nie Ching
DAP Wanita Chief