When some politicians open their mouth, we know they are lying. That is what they said, about former British PM, Tony Blair.
At home, when Deputy prime minister, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail speaks, we visibly wilt.
Today, in a report published in Malaysiakini, Wan Azizah said that she supported the government’s efforts to legislate paternity leave for the private sector.
Her reasons for the support? She claimed that Malaysia was slowly becoming a country with an aging population and said, “The idea is good. There are obstacles among the employers. But in terms of (paternity) leave, it is good because we are becoming a country with an aging population.
“So we encourage more people to have children”.
Why take paternity leave?
In some places around the world, paternity leave of either one or two consecutive weeks is given to fathers or partners so that they can take time off from work to support their wives or girlfriends, and help to take care of their baby.
Paternity leave is for fathers who want to bond with their baby or child and have greater responsibility for their child’s upbringing.
There are hidden costs. Who pays for the leave? The employer or the government?
Why equate paternity leave with population growth?
Is Wan Azizah aware that having large families cost money? Many Muslims must stop thinking that couples with large families are blessed. Who will feed, clothe, and educate the children? Who pays for their medical bills if the children fall seriously ill? Is quantity (large numbers of children) more important than quality (of life that the children lead)?
The wife who has just given birth is still in confinement and may not be interested in having sex.
The husband may be (keen on sex), and if the wife is unwilling, he may visit his mistress, or whoever takes his fancy.
If he makes his mistress or girlfriend, pregnant, this is probably what the DPM meant by encouraging population growth.
If there is no mistress, the man, if he is Muslim, may scour the countryside for a new wife, to take care of his sexual needs.
It will not just be a population growth that we are looking at, but a man who enters into a polygamous marriage.
Wife number “X”, who has just given birth, will be livid. She now has to share the marital bed and his affection with his wives. Can he support all of them?
More babies = Population growth.
The husband who takes paternity leave, may not necessarily be helping his wife with the new baby, help change the baby’s soiled nappies, help prepare the infant formula, or help the new mother have plenty of rest.
For all we know, the husband on paternity leave, is spending it on the golf course, or is watching TV, at the cinema, with his mates, or is lepak-ing at home and expects his wife to wait on him. He could be wanting peace and quiet, by relaxing with a girlfriend.
The husband who takes paternity leave, may find that bawling babies and changing nappies are not really his thing.
So, instead of the population growth that the DPM was hoping for, fathers are at put off sex. Or, he will ensure that his wife takes some form of birth control to limit the number of babies they may have.
The polygamous husband is smart enough to marry wives with steady jobs, so that he can live off their income and all he need to is to roll from one marital bed to another. Conversely, the “long-term” paternity leave husband can proudly boast that he has a job, unlike the unemployed polygamous husband.
The only difference is that the long-term paternity leave husband is more often than not, absent from work.
He will ensure that he impregnates his four wives on a regular basis, to ensure that first and foremost, the country has a steady population growth; but more importantly, he is almost forever on paternity leave.
The population growth that the DPM hopes for will happen, but it will not solve the ageing population or the work crises.
Out of touch with reality
Does Wan Azizah know the cost of having a large family? Even a pregnant mother needs money for doctor’s checks, medical care, anti-natal clinics, check ups, preparation for the baby, nappies, baby milk, cost of taking care of a new-born etc. Even if she does not pay for the medical, she has to get to the clinic or hospital. She also has to take time off work. There are hidden costs.
A large family needs a big house. A bigger car. More clothes, food, shoes, books, uniforms, medicine, and have increased child care costs.
Many people complain that they cannot make ends meet, and yet, the DPM is encouraging population growth. Has she or her PM-in-waiting-husband a magic wand to ensure a never-ending BR1M for these large families?
Are all politicians like her?
The DPM is not a career politician unlike some of the ones who go straight from university to become political aides/researchers before assuming a full blown career as a politician.
Do politicians lead sheltered lives?
Or does it mean that when they reach Putrajaya, they forget about the real-world because they are cocooned in the artificial political “bubble”?