Leader of Malaysia's Muslim party says women are unsuited for certain jobs

Posted: Friday, August 15, 2003

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) Feminist and legal groups have chided the leader of Malaysia's Islamic opposition party for saying women are not suited for certain jobs because of ''women's instinct.''

Abdul Hadi Awang, president of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party the country's largest opposition group also said women should only work if this doesn't interfere with their duties as wives and mothers, newspapers reported.

The Star newspaper quoted Abdul Hadi as saying women are unsuited to be a ''wildlife department director, navy commander or defense minister, as it is not part of their women's instinct,'' and might be welfare or education workers ''or even judges, but they should not hear cases involving serious crime.''

The government women's minister, Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, said Abdul Hadi's comments did not reflect true Islamic teaching or the respect accorded women in the Quran.

Abdul Hadi's party controls two of Malaysia's 13 states, in the conservative north. Those states ban alcohol sales and segregate men and women at supermarket counters.

About two-thirds of Malaysia's 23 million people are Muslims, and Islam is the official religion. The constitution guarantees freedom of worship of other faiths.



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