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‘Period spot checks’, rape ‘joke’ and Timah

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Olympian Pandelela Rinong took the tough decision to reveal her personal experiences about the alleged lewd joke and bullying she had to endure from one of her coaches. 

We should applaud her courage in speaking publicly about what happened. Even if it happened some time ago, it still took a lot of guts to bring this out in the open, especially in Malaysia. 

Sexual harassment, rape and the demeaning of women at all levels of society is happening not just here in Malaysia but in many other parts of the world.

When Pandelela made the brave decision to speak out, how did Youth and Sports Minister Ahmad Faizal Azumu respond? “I am trying to understand why after a long time, Lela (Pandelela) wants to put this out in the social media,” he said.

Former youth and sports minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman questioned Faizal over the government’s stand on the matter, as national gymnast Farah Ann Abdul Hadi and swimmer Cindy Ong had also raised such issues.

The minister later said his words were taken out of context.

Politicians love saying their words were ‘taken out of context’ when they make an utter mess of what is happening in their ministries.

In reply to Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah, he said action is being taken.

Hopefully, Maria, Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo and Syed Saddiq will follow up on behalf of all the young girls in sports programmes in the country and for women in general. There is no point in bringing these sexual harassment incidents out in the open if no further action is taken.

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Then there were the crass comments made by an actor who disclosed how he had to hide his enjoyment of a rape scene he was filming for a movie.

Was this meant as a joke? It is time for the public to stop making jokes about rape and to be re-educated that rape is not just physical violence but also mental torture and abuse of power.

Then there was this recent horror story, only fit for a Halloween movie: ‘period spot checks’ on female students by either teachers or school prefects in learning institutions.

Education Minister Radzi Judin promised to look into this when this story broke in April 2021. In June this year, his ministry was supposed to finalise the formation of an independent committee to look into this.

What happened to this independent committee? Was it ever formed? Why was a committee needed to look into this? What about the minister himself –  did this not make him want to check it out himself? What about the parents of these students? Do they not know what is happening to their daughters?

Another incident occurred in a vocational school earlier last month in the Klang Valley: 30 female students were asked to provide proof of their menstruation.

It makes one want to throw up just reading about such atrocious behaviour and abuse of power by these teachers who treat female students in such an abhorrent manner. What on earth has happened to the education system? Even the Taliban in Afghanistan would probably not stoop so low as to ask female students to show proof of menstruation.

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Based on Pandelela’s traumatic experience and the latest news on how young women are being treated in these institutions of learning, one would think that women ministers would take umbrage at what is happening and demand answers from the education minister.

But one woman MP seemed more bothered about the Timah whisky. The manufacturer had explained that the whisky was named to recall the tin industry and the role it played in the country’s development.

Why can’t we simply accept the manufacturer’s rational reasoning behind the name? Why does it have to be twisted out of proportion?

The MP added that drinking this whisky was purportedly akin to “drinking a Malay woman” – the reason being that some women are called Kak Timah or Makcik Timah.

Would somebody be thinking of a Kak Timah or a Makcik Timah when drinking this whisky? Get real, for goodness’ sake!

Some complained that the picture of the man on the bottle looks like he is wearing a Muslim skull cap.

These inane comments are coming from people who have nothing better to do than to twist this non-issue into something racial and religious and the government will, unfailingly, buy into this nonsense.

Aren’t there are more important issues that MPs and ministers need to focus on? Hopefully, people with better minds will focus on what matters to the country and its people rather than on insubstantial, fleeting nonsense like the name of a whisky.

Jem, an Aliran reader, still cares deeply about Sabah, despite having lived in the peninsula for some time

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

AGENDA RAKYAT - Lima perkara utama
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Hakimi Abdul Jabar
3 Nov 2021 3.40am

Poverty & Absolute Poverty Increases in Malaysia – Malaysian Featherbrains Are More Focused on Screwing the Dead & Gibberish Mantra

In a DOSM report dated August 6, 2021, based on the study, the number of poor households increased to 639.8 thousand households in 2020 as compared to 405.4 thousand households in 2019. The incidence of absolute poverty also increased from 5.6 per cent (2019) to 8.4 per cent.

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