Many agree that Anwar’s response to the young woman at the Temu Anwar event in Negeri Sembilan was inappropriate but believe the behaviour couldn’t be constituted as sexual harassment.
Bersatu’s Sasha Lyna Abdul Latiff said prime minister Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim should apologise for an alleged sexist remark to a Form 6 student during a Temu Anwar event in Negeri Sembilan.
It was a classic and stunning display of discriminatory, bigoted, and sexist language by the 75-year-old PM.Bersatu’s Sasha Lyna Abdul Latiff
Sasha questioned the kind of example Anwar is setting for the youths when he allegedly ignored the intelligence and capacity of women and treated them as an object of flirtation.
We urge the Prime Minister to accept that he had made a blatantly sexist comment in a public forum and apologise to the student affected and to all who participated in the event, as well as to the nation.Bersatu’s Sasha Lyna Abdul Latiff
Sasha added that Adriana’s questions were well-thought and deserved a proper answer. She believed the same question would never be asked if the question was posed by a boy or a man.
To sum up, it is never okay for a leader and a leader of a nation at that, to utter such words to a student in the guise of being humorous.Bersatu’s Sasha Lyna Abdul Latiff
She called on Pakatan Harapan and the Unity government not to keep silent about the matter and speak up for girls and women or be branded as hypocrites.
Muda deputy president Amira Aisya Abdul Aziz also spoke up about the issue. She said those who would consider it a joke are mostly older men who fail to understand why women, who hear such remarks daily, don’t smile or laugh in response.
Amira said Anwar has to apologise to set a good example to other men and make them understand that this sort of behaviour is not okay.
If you’re impressed by the girl, just compliment her without making comments that objectify her.Muda deputy president Amira Aisya Abdul Aziz
Unfortunately most older men think that this is just a joke.— amiraaisya (@_amiraaisya) June 25, 2023
Women see this on daily basis and we always have to explain whenever we dont smile or laugh at the “joke”.
Seeing DSAI doing it at a larger scale will perpetuate this belief.@anwaribrahim has to apologize publicly… https://t.co/Dpgif1KVWd
On 24 June during the Temu Anwar event, a Form 6 student named Ariana asked how Malaysia can become a first-class nation in the future and what is the government doing to manage the declining value of the Ringgit.
Anwar praised her eloquence and said he would ask for her number if he was younger. The forum’s moderator chimed in to ask the prime minister to pass him her number too.
To this, Anwar said it was just a joke and that his wife, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, is always watching the live streams of his events.
Netizens pointed out that Anwar did something similar in another Temu Anwar event with local actress Amelia Henderson as the moderator.
In that event, Anwar jokingly said he forgot the questions posed to him whenever he looked at Amelia.
While it was likely just humorous banter from Anwar, it could be misconstrued by the general public.
Was it sexual harassment?
There were debates about whether what happened constituted sexual harassment with some netizens calling out Women in Power for labelling the behaviour as such.
Women in Power said on Twitter that they stand in solidarity with Muda deputy president Amira Aisya for calling out Anwar’s alleged inappropriate behaviour.
Sexual harassment is a broad term, including various types of unwelcome verbal and physical sexual attention that is perceived by the recipient to be intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive, with the intent to violate the dignity of the recipient.
While what Anwar said to the student was inappropriate for a public figure, some netizens argued that it couldn’t be considered sexual harassment.
However, there were also others who believe inappropriate jokes are a form of harassment.
We stand in solidarity with YB @_amiraaisya in calling out the inappropriate behavior of Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim for sexually harassing a Form 6 student.— Women in Power (@womeninpower_my) June 25, 2023
It may just be a "joke.”
But that's how you silence victims.
By making them believe that it is just a "joke." pic.twitter.com/2RvAfclnfp
#unpopularopinion Was @anwaribrahim being inappropriate esp his status as Prime Minister; asking for a student's phone number on public broadcast show?— #EndChildMarriage – Azira 🇲🇾 🌺 (@ladymissazira) June 26, 2023
Yes, it was a bad Dad joke, as public figure he should know better and apologise. Cringe.
Was it sexual harassment?
Inappropriate jokes are a form of harassment. You cant okay something just because its a joke. Senang la kalau macam tu, anyone can get away with anything by saying its a joke.— Nadhirah Ali (@nadhirahalii) June 25, 2023
And harassment faced by women is an important rakyat issue. https://t.co/lLXZWCbfXp