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Mar 4, 2008


Kok raps rival over ’sexist’ posters (Malaysiakini)

Ki Mae Heussner | Mar 3, 08 3:44pm

teresa kok bn slur banner in seputeh 030308distastefulDAP incumbent Teresa Kok has been the target of sexist campaign tactics before but when assailing her MCA challenger for hanging ‘sexist’ posters, the politician today said she expected more from a woman opponent.teresa kok bn slur banner in seputeh

Yesterday, Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate for the Seputeh parliamentary seat, Carol Chew Chee Lin, launched a poster campaign that criticised Kok for contesting both the Seputeh seat and Kinrara state seat.One version features a caricature of Kok, clad in a skimpy red dress and matching stiletto heels, embracing ‘Mr Kinrara’ after dumping ‘Mr Seputeh’. The caption reads: “Once and for all, we will never abandon you, please vote BN.”

Another version features Kok on a rocket, flying from ‘Mr Kinrara’ to ‘Mr Seputeh’.

According to the opposition politician, nearly a dozen billboards with these images have been erected in the Seputeh constituency.

teresa kok bn slur banner in seputeh 030308 banner2“The implication (of the caricature) is that I am a loose woman. This kind of message is really shocking and has sexist content.

“I didn’t expect a woman to allow this kind of stupid cartoon. I am quite disappointed,” she said when contacted today.

She said other DAP candidates such as secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and Prof P Ramasamy are also contesting for state and parliamentary seats but “these men” were not criticised in a similar manner.

Gentlewoman’s fight’

Especially given Chew’s previous position under Wanita MCA head Dr Ng Yen Yen, Kok said she expected the MCA novice to engage in a “gentlewoman’s fight.”

“Ng and her deputy Chew Mei Fun) need to take a stand on this,” she said, adding that MCA always talks about the importance of women candidates and encourages gender sensitivity.

“Ng should have sent her PA (Chew) for gender sensitivity courses before sending her to contest in Seputeh,” she said.

During Kok’s 1999 run for Parliament, sexist comments made by her BN opponent, Sua Chong Keh, incensed voters in the Seputah constituency and ultimately tipped the scales in Kok’s favour.

mca seputeh carol chew 010308 smileCompared to previous elections, there are more women candidates in (all) parties,” she said. “It is sad to see the BN candidate launch this campaign,” said Kok.

Despite numerous attempts, Chew (right) could not be reached for comment.

However, China Press today quoted the BN politician as saying that the posters were not sexist and were only meant to illustrate the point that a candidate contesting for two seats would not be able to serve the people well.

Conduct ethical campaigns

In a related development, the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) today expressed its disappointment with the two cartoon-styled billboards in the Seputeh constituency.

JAG said that the billboards depicted Kok in a manner that degraded her as a woman and trivialized her work as an MP.

“The sexualized cartoons of her (in a tight, bright red dress, red high heels and flitting from one “lover” to the next) sets women up as sex objects,” said the group in a statement.

“Sexist comments demean women and when made in relation to their work, violate their right to a safe working environment.

“This incident highlights again the need for mandatory gender sensitisation programmes for all members of political parties and Mps,” it added.

JAG urged all political parties to conduct their election campaigns on a more ethical basis.


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