Che Mohamad Zulkifly Jusoh, a Muslim MP from the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) party, made the controversial comments on Tuesday during a debate on amendments to domestic violence laws.
“Even though men are said to be physically stronger than women, there are cases where wives hurt or abuse their husbands in an extreme manner,” said the lawmaker, who is also a member of the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) party, a founding member of the BN, AFP reports.
“Usually, it involves wives cursing their husbands – this is emotional abuse. They insult their husbands and refuse his sexual needs. All these are types of psychological and emotional abuse,” he stated.
His comments were slammed by Marina Mahathir, a women’s rights activist who said that the statements are “based on ignorance.”
“Women have a right to say no to sex – this is an old notion that when you marry a women you own her body,” Mahathir, the daughter of former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed, told AFP. “It does not work that way. It is ridiculous to say men are abused if women say no to sex.”
People on social media also criticized the statement by the 58-year-old politician, saying that Malaysia lacks laws for women’s rights.
Others mocked his comments, saying that an “emotionally abused” Malaysian man can receive satisfaction from his “other three wives.” Under Islamic law in Malaysia, a man can have four wives.