PETALING JAYA: The Covid-19 pandemic has shown that domestic violence should no longer be seen solely as a “women’s issue”, says Wanita MCA chief Datuk Heng Seai Kie (pic).
“I am of the strong opinion that domestic violence cannot be regarded as just a ‘women’s issue’ anymore.
“This pandemic has clearly shown us that, ” she said in her speech via video-conferencing during the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) yesterday.
She said 1,986 domestic violence cases were reported throughout the country during the movement control order between March and August 2020.
“This is a 53% increase from the average in the period before the outbreak of the pandemic, ” she added.
Besides domestic violence cases, she said 7,957 divorce cases were also recorded during the conditional MCO, representing a 250% increase.
Domestic violence, said Heng, was a complex issue that was deeply woven in society and had a long-term effect on nation-building efforts.
“We can no longer sweep this issue under the carpet, or pretend that there ever will be a vaccine for it.
“It will not disappear just because we do not feel comfortable discussing it, ” she said, proposing for efforts on tackling domestic violence to be given the same priority as poverty eradication, education or job creation.
The Women, Family and Community Development Ministry, said Heng, had set an emergency hotline Talian Kasih 15999 for victims of abuse or those requiring help or protection while RM21bil was allocated under Budget 2021 to set up social support centres to help women and families in need.
Heng said that Wanita MCA has been working alongside non-governmental organisations and civil society to tackle domestic violence.