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PUBLISHED: Feb 8, 2014 4:13pm • UPDATED: Feb 14, 2014 04:02pm

Smacking sense into chauvinists their own way

Sisters In Islam programme manager Suri Kempe (extreme right) along with other Joint Action Group for Gender Equality members holding up the banner to protest against the bounty on assemblyman Teresa Kok.


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When Suri Kempe read that the Council of Muslim Non-Governmental Organisations had announced a RM1,200 reward for anyone who slapped DAP’s Seputeh Member of Parliament Teresa Kok, she was disgusted.

The Sisters In Islam programme manager was also dumbstruck.

“Did I read this right? They are actually offering a bounty for someone to harm a woman? How can they call themselves ‘Muslims’?”

The bounty, along with the racially-tinged protest by the group yesterday, drew condemnation from across the political divide.

It also triggered a knee-jerk reaction.

Suri forwarded the news item to organisations that make up the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG). The group includes Tenaganita, Women’s Aid Organisation and the All Women’s Action Society. It decided that something had to be done.

The standard response, Suri revealed, was to issue a statement. But WAO’s advocacy officer Yu Ren Chung proposed something more visual.

In an hour, the group came up with a banner that read, “A Slap To Teresa Is A Slap To Women”.

Social media did the rest with a picture of the group holding up the banner. It spread “like wildfire”, Suri told The Rakyat Post.  Facebook users started sharing it.

“I am really proud because we came together quickly. Everyone pitched in,” Suri, who was previously attached to the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry, said.

Yu said the decision on campaigning via social media was influenced by the fact that Malaysians were major users of the medium. “Getting the word out is important”.

Ultimately, the objective, Yu said, was sharing the message that Malaysians were not going to accept such behaviour.

“Using visuals is quite effective.”

On what other other action was being contemplated, Yu said it depended on what happened next.

“We want the law enforcement agencies to take action.”



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