Fights Over Domestic Violence in Malaysia

Parliament approved new amendments of Malaysian Domestic Violation Act

The struggle continues. Women groups in Malaysia have been fighting for the Domestic Violence Act to be legally approved since the 1980s. The act first came to place in 1994 and was finally effective since 1996. There has been 7,246 reported cases in the Counselling and Psychological Division of the Social Welfare Department since it was set up in 2002. Today, the parliament has approved an amendment to protect women even further from physical and psychological scare inside households.

Emotional Abuse is abuse, nonetheless

The latest amendment categorizes emotional abuse as a form of crime. While sounding ideal, the practicality of it is still being questioned. First up, who should determine if a case is an abuse – appointed psychologists or merely normal medical officers?

“Do we need proper psychologists when this country doesn’t have enough? Or will a normal medical officer do? And who pays for it (the assessment)?” questions Meera Samanther, the President of Women Lawyers as quoted by The Star.

There is also the concern of unfriendly police officers when it comes to domestic violence reports. Being the law frontliners, they are supposed to be encouraging and understanding towards domestic violence victims. If not, the vicious cycle would never see light at the end of the tunnel. We all know there are countless abusive cases go unreported – rude facilitators is the last thing the society needs. If the practicalities are well taken care of, the noble goal of protecting victims without physical marks of abuse could be achieved.

Third party abuser

An aspect often overlooked by many is the inclusion of third party to further excruciates the victims. There have been cases of husbands who pay thugs and gangsters to harass their wives after abusive pattern occurs in the household. With the revised Domestic Violence Act, they could no longer walk away from well-deserved punishments.

No protection for unmarried couples

The local Domestic Violence Act, however, has not touched on the issue of protection for domestic partners. With the rising number of partners who live together, the risk of domestic violence is on the rise too. Needless say, the case of dating violence. Sooner or later, there is a need for this matter to be addressed, as there are unprotected citizens around the country. Although there will be pros and cons as domestic partnership is illegal based on Islamic law as the official religion of the country – such phenomenon is a part of today’s lives. Hence, government should fulfill its very nature of ensuring welfare of the people by protecting unmarried couples.

Seek For Help, and Lend a Hand

Although most domestic violence cases occurred to women, there have been reports of male abuse as well. Domestic violence is no passing matters and it is happening all around us all the time. As women, we have to know our rights and say no to the evil in your relationship. When it does happen to us, keep in mind that it could happen again and ruin our future. Do not sweep it under the rug. For our community, be the support system needed by our friends, siblings, and relatives.

Who to call in regards to domestic violence:

Women’s Aid Organization Malaysia

Hotline: +603 7956 3488

Talian Nur: 15999


For further information on DVA Ammendment:

Concerns Over Effective Implementation of Domestic Violence Act, The Star Online

Nina Hidayat

Nina Hidayat survives life by heart and intuition (plus a bit of logic). In between voicing out through writing, she daydreams about clothes and shoes. Recently, she started 'Sepatu Merah' - a self-designed handmade shoe line dedicated for women. Life is a fashion playground, after all.

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