Current Affairs

Malaysia must ensure women’s safety, not just physically

Prime Minister Must Intervene To Protect Women’s Safety From Physical Harm And Dignity By Directing The Police To Punish And Stop Political Gangsters, Who Shamed Malaysia With Language And Conduct Of Violence Against Teresa Kok.

The Prime Minister must personally direct the Home Ministry and the police to respect women by acting sternly, speedily and relentlessly against political gangsters who recklessly denigrate women with derogatory insults or threaten them not only with violence but choose to carry them out.

As Malaysia celebrates International Women’s Day, this important occasion is marred by the violent act in Sama Gagah, Permatang Pauh in Penang when an unidentified man attacked Seputih MP Teresa Kok with an egg after she finished her ceramah.

DAP is dismayed and angered by this attack and strongly condemns those involved whether directly attacking her or indirectly attacking her by offering RM 1,200 to anyone who slapped her. Even though Teresa was uninjured when the egg smashed into her hand, this cowardly attack is unprecedented because of the inaction by the police and the authorities against UMNO supporters who had earlier offered the RM 1,200 bounty.

Clearly the refusal by the Home Minister Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi to punish those who threatened Teresa with violence has emboldened these political gangsters to continue with such words and even conduct of violence.

Such double-standards and selective prosecution is evident when immediate action is taken on threats against BN leaders but even death threats against PR leaders, including myself as Penang Chief Minister, have gone unpunished.

Since the Home Ministry and the police has failed to act, the Prime Minister must intervene to stop the impression of “sanctioned” violence in words and conduct against PR leaders, including women. What is shocking is the perversity of UMNO leaders in refusing to condemn such incitement by UMNO groups thereby tacitly sanctioning such violent words and conduct against women.

All cultures, religion or race in the world considers it a cowardly and shameful act for a man to bully much, less do violence on women, except probably amongst UMNO supporters in Malaysia.

Even criminal gangsters do not bully or attack women like these political gangsters. Sadly even UMNO Wanita has failed to show solidarity with women by demanding that action be taken against the man who attacked Teresa or to severely punish those UMNO support groups offering a RM1,200 bounty to anyone who slapped Teresa.

DAP salutes Teresa’s courage as she remained unfazed by the incident and vowed to continue her public meetings without affecting her normal schedule. Strongly condemning this barbaric attack on Teresa is not enough, the public especially women demands punitive action against those responsible.

Since the police and the Home Ministry has abdicated their responsibility to protect Teresa, the Prime Minister must intervene to salvage the dignity of women in Malaysia and give meaning to International Women Rights Day by ensuring that their safety is assured from being harrassed by threats or molested by violence.

Lim Guan Eng is the national Secretary-General for DAP and member of parliament for Bagan

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