Malaysian women
Muslim women gather to listen to religious talk in Kota Bharu, in Malaysia's northeastern state of Kelantan. Reuters / Zainal Abd Halim

A former architecture lecturer felt so strongly against a woman becoming a Member of Parliament where he lives that he decided to join in the by-election as an independent candidate. Izat Bukhary Ismail Bukhary decided to contest the Kuala Kangsar by-election because he didn't trust women leaders.

The 49-year-old said he wanted to offer Kuala Kangsar voters with an alternative to the two female candidates in the parliamentary by-election in the state of Perak. The other two candidates are the ruling government coalition Barisan Nasional's Mastura Mohd Yazid and Islamist party Parti Islam se-Malaysia (PAS) Dr Najihatussalehah Ahmad.

Speaking to reporters after submitting his nomination papers to stand as an independent candidate, he said: "I don't believe in women [leaders] because men lead women. If they [women] are not qualified to lead a family, how can they lead something larger?"

He did not stop there. According to The Malay Mail Online, he added: "I have never agreed to women being leaders from the beginning. I feel men should be leaders and I don't believe in political parties because they only look to serve themselves. {Political] parties only push people further apart."

Izat Bukhary had previously contested in three elections, also as an independent candidate for the Pengkalan Kubor seat in Kelantan in 2013 and 2014. He also stood for elections in the Chempaka seat, in Kelantan in 2015.

He also criticised his fellow candidate Mastura for standing for elections. He said she should not be burdened with an election during the mourning period for her husband, the former MP for the Kuala Kangsar seat, Wan Mohammad Khair-il Anuar Wan Ahmad. Another person should have contested in her place, he added.