Anger at Malaysia textbook

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) – Malaysia’s government will alter an elementary-school textbook which suggested girls should dress modestly to prevent assault, authorities said yesterday, after it sparked widespread anger.

Social media exploded with outrage after images circulated of a section of the book, which is used by nine-year-olds, entitled Saving one’s modesty.

It featured a series of pictures of a fictional girl called Amira, whose parents advise her to protect ‘her modesty’ by wearing the correct attire.

They also tell her to keep the door of her room closed when changing clothes, and to avoid spending time in quiet locations alone. If she fails in her efforts to prevent an assault, Amira would bring shame on her family, be shunned by her friends and face emotional problems, the book said.

Activists said the book was teaching children from a young age that female victims of attacks only had themselves to blame.

“We are appalled,” said Vice President of rights group Women’s Aid Organisation Meera Samanther.

Following the outcry, the Education Ministry said the controversial section of the book would be covered over using stickers.