Daughter Of UMNO President Insists “Woman Are Not Born To Be A Leader”, Netizens Outraged And Confused

“Women are not born to be leaders, men are born to be leaders.”

 Nurulhidayah Ahmad Zahid received backlash from netizens for not thinking the controversial statement through properly.

“I think um women are not born to be a leader, a man is born to be a leader so I think for human rights, for women’s rights, we should all have the rights because we are all humans.”

Harith Iskander, a Malaysian comedian who is known for his light hearted social commentary on neighbourly ties between Singapore and Malaysia, had an appropriate response to her baffling statement.


Sometimes its better NOT to have an opinion #justmyopinion #harithiskander

♬ original sound – Harith Iskander – Harith Iskander


Harith was left speechless by her opinion.

Netizens were quick to call out her confusing statement, saying that it made no sense.

Women in leadership roles aren’t new, there are women in history who have been leaders and pioneers. Some notable historical Malaysian women leaders include Kadijah Sidek and Mrs BH Oon.

Some compared her to her father, Ahmad Zahid, current UMNO president and ex-prime minister of Malaysia, who received criticism for the way he led the nation during the pandemic.

One wondered if Nurul meant to say that women aren’t naturally meant to be leaders, as such roles were left to men traditionally. However, such stereotypes should not be propagated in this day and age. Both genders should be able to take up leadership roles if they have the capability.

People mocked her for her incoherence and conflating different issues together.

The viral clip was part of a short interview with Sinar Daily’s Politically Frank segment. Nurulhidayah was asked for her thoughts on women’s rights and female representation in politics. Her opinion did not answer the question directly but it was clear that she felt men should naturally be in leadership positions.

After receiving criticism for her statement, Nurulhidayah clarified her stance in an Instagram post, saying that there is no problem with women being in leadership roles if they’re capable. However, married women cannot disregard their duties to their homes as stated in Islam. She went on to say that even single women are not encouraged to be in the midst of men leading the nation as it can cause slander to them. 

Source: Instagram, nurul.zahid

Nurul ended her post by saying that women can’t even control their men from time to time, the notion of controlling and running a country is out of the question.

Her clarification didn’t soothe some who said that there were women in Islam who were wifes of the prophet Muhammad and leaders in their own right. Women who choose to raise their children and lead by example could end up raising future leaders of the nation.

Reporter’s Opinions: Sis, you’re the executive director of Menara and you were recently made a vice-chairman in MQ Tech Sdn Bhd. You’re also the daughter of a leader. So pray tell, how can you advise other women not to take up leadership roles?

In your capacity as a leader, you should empower other women who want to take up leadership roles and to represent women in politics. Or is leadership just meant for women who are born into privilege and power? From your own half assed statement, that is what you’re implying.

Women can be leaders and should take up leadership roles whenever possible. Especially when there is a need for a woman’s touch in an organisation.

A woman who chooses to lead a team in an office and a woman who chooses to lead and teach her children are both leaders in their own rights. Just don’t discourage them in the guise of religion and traditional gender roles. It reeks of internalised misogyny and gatekeeping leadership roles for the privileged.

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Belalang Biru

Written by Belalang Biru

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