Malaysian ministry apologises for ‘avoid nagging’ lockdown tips

Malaysia’s government has been forced to apologise after its advice for women to wear makeup and not nag their husbands during the country’s coronavirus lockdown sparked online anger and mockery.

Like many countries, the south-east Asian nation has ordered all its citizens to stay at home to stem the spread of the Covid-19 virus. In a series of Facebook posts, the Malaysian women’s ministry offered tips for how wives should behave during the lockdown.

One post – now deleted – showed a picture of a couple hanging up clothes together, next to a caption that advised women to “avoid nagging” their husbands – and to imitate the squeaky voice of Doraemon, a cartoon robot cat from Japan that is popular across Asia.


Doraemon, a Japanese robo-cat anime character: imitations of its squeaky voice were suggested.

Doraemon, a Japanese robo-cat anime character: imitations of its squeaky voice were suggested. Photograph: Toru Yamanaka/AFP/Getty Images

Other posts advised women working at home to wear makeup and dress neatly rather than in casual clothes.

Social media lit up with anger and disbelief at the posts, with one netizen asking: “how will dressing up and putting on make-up at home [prevent] COVID-19? Pray, tell?”

The women’s ministry apologised, conceding the posts may have offended some people, and said it would “remain cautious in future”.

But it insisted the suggestions were merely aimed at “maintaining positive relationships among family members during the period they are working from home”.

There have been fears of a surge in domestic violence worldwide as the stress caused by confinement and job insecurity increases the likelihood of conflicts.

A government-run helpline in Malaysia for vulnerable people, including victims of domestic abuse, has seen an increase in calls of more than 50% since the start of the country’s lockdown on 18 March, local media reported.

The Guardian

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