"I am a man so I stand. She is a woman so she squats."
This remark made by Sua Chong Keh, Barisan Nasional's candidate for Seputeh, against his challenger, DAP's Teresa Kok, has incensed not only his opponent but has also infuriated voters in his constituency.
Kok told a press conference this afternoon that she has received a flood of telephone calls and faxes from constituents, both men and women, expressing anger and dismay over Sua's public statement made, ironically, at a Wanita MCA dinner on Monday night.
Kok said she felt slighted at Sua's comment which she construed as a crude sexist joke made "to suggest that he is 'above her'".
Sua's remarks also drew the ire of another woman candidate, Women's Candidacy Initiative (WCI) 's Zaitun Kasim, who is running under the DAP banner in Selayang.
Urging Wanita MCA to take a stand on the issue, Zaitun said,. "I feel slighted not just as a women's activist and candidate, but as a woman. What it shows is that he is not serious about women, he is not serious about women voters, nor is he serious about issues that concern voters in general. To take such cheap shots shows that he is not interested in seeing women who make up more than half the electorate in a positive light."
According to Zaitun, who is also the vice-president of the All Women's Action Society of Malaysia (Awam), the BN has adopted double standards with regards to the Opposition. "For the BN to throw stones at PAS for 'degrading' women yet for their candidates to resort to such gutter language is complete hypocrisy."
Sua has, however, offered an apology to those offended by his remark. When contacted by malaysiakini this afternoon, Sua said, "For those who felt uncomfortable with my 'joke', I withdraw it, and I apologise to them."
But Sua stopped short of extending an apology to Kok personally, accusing the DAP for politicising the issue. "I have no further comment as I do not wish to get embroiled in the issue," he said.