If DAP secretary-general and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng can apologise for calling his state opposition leader Jahara Hamid a “grandmother”, then Sarawak minister Abang Johari Openg should do the same for remarks that are even more derogatory.
Beyond sexism, DAP’s Kota Sentosa assemblyperson Chong Chieng Jen said, Abang Johari’s remarks against two female DAP assemblypersons crossed the line of “sexual harassment”.
This included insinuating that Pending assemblyperson Violet Yong, who is not married, could be his second wife as he has “a quota of three more” wives.
Abang Johari (right) also said that if he had gone to the market with Batu Kawah
assemblyperson Christina Chiew, then people would say he is out with his “new girlfriend”.
Chong, who is Sarawak DAP chief, said: “Though Abang Johari may have escaped in the state legislative assembly with the help of the speaker, he must still be held responsible for his sexist remarks and sexual harassment in the assembly.
“It is most disappointing that a veteran politician with such a high position and seniority stoops so low as to make sexist comments against the (female) DAP assemblypersons when he has no answer to their questions in the debates.
“It is even more disappointing that after the matter was brought up, he can still pretend that nothing has happened.
“It has been 15 days since Abang Johari made the sexist remarks. I urge him to have that little dignity to admit that such comments against Violet Yong and Christina Chiew were uncalled for and that he apologises to the two.”
Wives and girlfriends
Abang Johari, who is Sarawak’s housing and tourism minister, made these remarks on Nov 26, when Chiew raised the grouses of traders at the weekly market.
According to the Sarawak assembly Hansard, Chiew said if Abang Johari could not visit the market and listen to the complaints himself, then the two of them could go together.
Abang Johari replied that he goes to the market every weekend, and that “if (he) were to go with (Chiew), people will say (she) is (his) new girlfiend”.
“It will be tough as this is my constituency, you know? People will take for granted that you and me together, post it in Facebook and they they will say, ‘Wah!’.
“Your husband will have problems, and so will my wife,” he said, laughingly, in the House.
When Yong (right) pointed out that the structure at the market was not conducive to trade as it was not shaded and too hot for customers, Abang Johari said a consultant has been engaged to look into this.
He also laughingly added: “Okay, maybe when you go there one day you can bring me… Are you single? Oh, I didn’t know this. I still have a quota of three more (wives).”
Spinsters and grandmothers.
Earlier, Penang CM Lim apologised to Jahara for calling her a “grandmother”, but at the same time admonished her for raising issues in what he saw as a “racist” manner.
Lim and controversial columnist Ridhuan Tee Abdullah, who called DAP’s Seputeh MP Teresa Kok a “spinster”, have been slammed by women’s rights groups for “sexist” remarks against the female politicians.
Lim was responding to Jahara’s allegation that the state had practised selective enforcement and discriminated against Malay illegal businesses.
She also claimed that Pulau Jerejak had been renamed Mazu Island in deference to the Goddess Mazu, who according to Chinese belief takes care of the oceans.
Both allegations have been denied by the Penang administration.