Political leaders must protect women, men from sexual violence

The deputy PM says she is of the opinion that gender sensitisation sessions should be conducted for representatives


BOTH elected and appointed political leaders should be gender-sensitive and play a role to ensure that women and men are protected from sexual violence, Deputy Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (picture) said.

Dr Wan Azizah — who is also the minister for women, family and community development — said Senator First Admiral (Rtd) Mohamad Imran Abd Hamid of PKR should be more considerate and sensitive to the party’s stand against violence and harassment on women.

“Political leaders, both elected and appointed representatives, must play a role in ensuring women and men are constantly protected from sexual violence.

“I was shocked to read Mohamad Imran’s suggestion that there be a sexual harassment law to protect men from a woman’s way of speaking and dressing, which he says can cause men to be seduced, which will then lead them into committing acts such as incest, rape, inappropriate touching and pornography, among others,” she said in a statement yesterday.

On Wednesday, Mohamad Imran was reported to have suggested a law to protect men from sexual harassment by women to Minister in the PM’s Department (religious affairs) Datuk Seri Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa.

Mohamad Imran has since retracted his statement and apologised to everyone who have been affected by his remarks.

“I apologise to all who have been affected by my arguments for proposing that a sex offender protection act be enacted, while debating the Syarie Legal Profession (Federal Territories) Bill 2019 on July 31, 2019, at the Dewan Negara.

“Although my intentions were sincere, but (I) did not expect it to be a serious mistake that has offended many women and, no less, men for being considered insulting,” he said.

His suggestion has received various brickbats, including from Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh and PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

In addition to his apology, Dr Wan Azizah said she is of the opinion that gender sensitisation sessions should be conducted for representatives.

“Even though Mohamad Imran has apologised and retracted his statement, I am of the opinion that gender sensitisation sessions should be conducted, especially for elected and appointed representatives, so that the causes and consequences of violence against women can be better understood together.

“To blame women for the bad behaviour from men is not acceptable and women should be protected from crimes,” she said.

She also questioned how the blame could be placed on women for causing crimes upon them.

“Both men and women have a role to play in developing Malaysia. Statements such as these have no place in Malaysia Baru,” she said.