MP SPEAKS | Farah Ann Abdul Hadi, the darling of Malaysia's Olympics squad, exhibited skill, stamina, strength and tenacity in her brilliant routine at the Tokyo Olympics a few days ago.
She proudly bore the specially designed ‘Harimau Malaya’ on her outfit as she performed with hope and courage in her heart and the Malaysian flag on her shoulders in the artistic gymnastics event.
She was greeted, thousands of miles away, by cheering, supportive Malaysians, regardless of her placing or a medal but for the fact that the Jalur Gemilang was flown in the Land of the Rising Sun.
However, shamefully, she was also subject to sexist, lewd and disrespectful comments by men and women with archaic views on women, especially when one is in the limelight.
Insults were made against her, her outfit, her routine and towards her as a woman generally.
In 2015, the then minister for youth and sports Khairy Jamaluddin spoke up and defended Farah Ann when she was subjected then to the same disgusting comments by men and women who trivialised a national gymnast’s achievement to the clothes wrapping her body.
To date, we have not heard any statement by the Minister for Women, Family and Community Development Rina Harun nor the Minister for Youth and Sports Reezal Merican Naina Merican defending Farah Ann in her endeavours in Toky and calling out and condemning these sick, perverse men and women who have nothing else but filth on their minds.
How will Malaysia aspire to be taken seriously as a signatory to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (Cedaw) when we cannot even defend and protect one of us when she wears the 'Jalur Gemilang' on her heart?
There will always be men and women who will throw insults in the form of sexist and racist remarks against women sportspeople. The onus is upon leaders to stand up to criticise them and at the same time to educate and create awareness for others to emulate.
Rina Harun, Reezal Merican, speak up to defend Farah Ann and condemn sexist and disrespectful comments against women.
KASTHURI PATTO is Member of Parliament for Batu Kawan and DAP Women's international secretary.
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