When it comes to instances of sexual harassment and assault, the unanimous consensus among the public is that those who have committed such acts should be held responsible for their actions. Oftentimes, victims are left with lingering traumas, and are left to pick up the pieces on their own. And by no means should the severity of the acts be downplayed or worse still, ignored for the sake of convenience or propriety.
Sexual harassment cases don’t need to be publicised
Yet, it was recently reported that the Malaysian Minister of Communications and Multimedia allegedly told Mingguan Malaysia that ‘isolated cases’ of sexual harassment within the local media and entertainment industry should not be amplified. Instead, it would be better for them to focus on the positives of the industry instead, according to Utusan Malaysia.
“I feel like there’s no reason why those cases should be magnified. Focus on the positives, rather than the isolated cases,” he said.
In clarifying what he had referred to as ‘positives’, Utusan Malaysia had asked Tan Sri Annuar Musa if he had meant the development and improvement of the local arts industries, to which he succinctly agreed.
The comments were apparently made after a number of sexual harassment allegations were publicised among the local entertainment circles between talents, artistes, and members of production crews, as reported by Malaysia Dateline. Public backlash has been swift since the remarks went viral across social media, with many Malaysians underscoring the proclivity for local industry bigwigs to protect assailants from persecution over cases of sexual assault and the consequences that sexual assault victims have to live with.
Remarks were apparently misinterpreted
However, in a statement that was later released on his official social media channels, the Minister has since gone on to claim that his highly contentious remarks were misinterpreted by members of the media. According to him, the flippant comment was made during a WhatsApp correspondence between himself and a journalist, who he claims to have misrepresented what he had actually meant.
He goes on to reinforce the fact that his Ministry takes all claims of sexual harassment very seriously, and reminds that such instances are in fact criminal offences that are prosecutable by law. It is worth noting that the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia is tasked to regulate content produced by both local and international studios, production houses, and broadcasting companies alike.
He has since relayed the issue to the Royal Malaysian Police.
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