KUALA LUMPUR - "Women are meant to be loved, not beaten. If you cannot love her, let her be free."
These were the words of magistrate Nur Aminatul Mardiah Md Nor as she scolded a taxi driver for beating up his wife.
K. Tharmalingam, 42, had earlier pleaded guilty before the magistrate to causing harm to his wife T. Gunawathy by smacking her with his bare hands.
According to the statement of facts, the couple had been squabbling at home when Tharmalingam began hitting Gunawathy.
He then forced her to have sex with him and threatened to beat her if she argued with him again.
According to the Penal Code, non-consensual sex between husband and wife is not considered rape.
Before sentencing, Nur Aminatul asked Tharmalingam if the fight was about sex.
The husband repeatedly mumbled, prompting the magistrate to shout "Pukul bini boleh, cakap kuat-kuat tak boleh (You can beat up your wife, but can't speak up)?"
Nur Aminatul continued to grill Tharmalingam, asking if he was drunk when he beat up his wife and if their children had witnessed the fight.
Tharmalingam then replied that he was sober and his children, aged 12 and 13, had been asleep.
"So, you hit her for no reason. How could you do that to the mother of your children?" asked Nur Aminatul.
Tharmalingam was seen shifting about uneasily in the dock and did not reply.
Deputy public prosecutor Noor Svetlana Mohd Noor Nordin urged the court for an exemplary sentence to teach husbands not to resort to violence against their wives.
Gunawathy, who attended the hearing, gave a Victim Impact Statement, saying the beating had caused her deep anguish.
The court sentenced Tharmalingam to a month in prison.