10 Oct 2019
Press statement by Wanita MCA National Chairperson Datuk Heng Seai Kie
Hanipa's sexist remark shames M’sian Cabinet & Parliament : Make gender sensitivity course compulsory for all MPs
Wanita MCA notes that de facto Deputy Law Minister Hanipa Maidin has apologised to Pengerang MP Dato’ Sri Azalina Othman for his sexist mockery of the former Tourism and de facto Law Minister when he retorted, “sometimes even I can’t differentiate if you are a man and woman.”
Society has to view the jibe at a wider perspective, as these are the types of misogyny which women, especially those in leadership roles should not be subjected to but are.
From this episode, we hope that the new Pakatan Harapan government will fulfil its Special Commitment for Women as outlined in its Manifesto Harapan, amongst which reads: “The PH government will empower the rights of women in Malaysia and recognise the importance of their roles” in addition to “Ensuring the legal system protects women’s rights and dignity.”
Meanwhile, Parliament should organise gender sensitisation and equality courses for all MPs and Senators. Contents of the course should include law reforms over the decades to enable gender equality. Also, outline words and behaviour which are sexist, harassing and belittle women, as users are either deliberately ignorant, or oblivious that such lexicon and actions trivialise women, society, decency and can cultivate a next generation of gender bias if treated lightly. A comparison between the treatment for a male as opposed to a female on a same issue e.g. rape, inheritance can help in gender sensitisation.
While Hanipa has apologised, his jibe betrays his Freudian slip on his views about women, especially women who are bestowed with a strong leadership character. His remark was totally unexpected and unbecoming, especially, when it was proffered by a person educated in the letters of the law, and more so, in the august chambers of the Dewan Rakyat.
In this context, BN MPs including MCA President Datuk Seri Ir Dr Wee Ka Siong, MPs representing Arau, Paya Besar, Jelebu, Pasir Salak, Tanjong Karang and other MPs must be lauded for voicing their protested immediately which compelled an apology from Hanipa.
Datuk Heng Seai Kie
Wanita MCA National Chairperson