PETALING JAYA: PKR Wanita chief Zuraida Kamaruddin today urged the police to investigate claims by two female journalists that they had been sexually harassed by politicians, saying the allegations involve abuse of power and breach of trust.
She was referring to a report by the Asian Correspondent yesterday which highlighted the accounts of women journalists who said they had experienced unwanted sexual advances from the male politicians they were assigned to interview.
Of the eight journalists featured in the article, two were Malaysian.
One said a politician had sent her lewd text messages and stroked her thigh during an interview. The other said an MP had persistently messaged her to ask about her personal life, and had invited her to dinner despite being married.
Expressing concern over the testimonies, Zuraida said those who held public office were supposed to be the people’s representatives.
“Men who do not behave themselves simply do not deserve to represent the women in their constituency.
“Sexual harassment should be viewed seriously, and the men who think they can get away with everything should be punished severely if found guilty, especially because they hold public office,” she said in a statement.
Zuraida, who is Ampang MP, said there was only limited protection for women facing sexual harassment under the Employment Act (Act A1419) and the Code of Practice on the Prevention and Eradication of Sexual Harassment.
“The existing Penal Code, under Section 509, is insufficient to cover sexual harassment cases as the act only refers to ‘an insult to modesty’ as a crime that is punishable by imprisonment of up to five years, or a fine, or both.
“As a member of Parliament, I will propose the Sexual Harassment Bill during the next parliament sitting and continue to push for it until it is passed as an act.”