Extramarital affairs have nothing to do with fighting corruption

The political attacks against Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Tan Sri Dzulkifli Ahmad accusing him of having an affair with a married woman are despicable, but what is worse is the police investigation into the alleged adultery.

Boo Su-Lyn, The Malay Mail Online

The police are reportedly investigating Dzulkifli under Section 498 of the Penal Code that criminalises the “enticing” of a married woman for the purposes of sex, punishable with two years’ jail, a fine or both. The colonial-era law first entered the spotlight in 2009 when a TV personality’s ex-husband accused another man of “enticing” her.

Section 498 is a sexist and outdated law that has no place in our books. It was a product of British colonialists from the sexually repressive Victorian era in the 19th century, as the same provision was reportedly found in the 1860 Indian Penal Code.

A woman’s consent is not recognised in the law that essentially treats her as chattel. The crime isn’t rape, but more like theft of a man’s property, ie. his wife.

The Law Commission of India under British rule reportedly made adultery a crime in 1860 because it believed that adultery threatened the core of the family unit. The Commission had wanted to punish only male offenders because women were already living oppressive lives.

It is unfortunate that not many people have come out to defend Dzulkifli after the video alleging that he had visited Bali with a married woman last July went viral.

However, it isn’t really surprising considering the MACC under his leadership has aggressively gone after high-ranking politicians from both Barisan Nasional and the Opposition, as well as ex-senior civil servants, since Dzulkifli’s appointment in July 2016. And it is anyone’s guess which side leaked the video.

Even if the allegations are true, there is no reason for a civil servant tasked with fighting corruption to step down. A graft buster’s (consensual) sexual behaviour has nothing to do with the job description.

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