Monday November 13, 2006
Council chief slammed over remark
By CHRISTINA CHIN
PENANG: Penang Municipal Council president Datuk Abu Bakar Hassan should apologise to the media for his “insensitive” remark over the dressing of women journalists, said state deputy assembly speaker Datuk Lye Siew Weng.
He said Abu Bakar should have investigated the media’s complaint that a close-circuit television (CCTV) camera at City Hall was zooming onto the thighs of a female journalist covering a full council meeting instead of blaming them for the incident.
“As a senior officer, Abu Bakar should know better. He must apologise to the journalists for claiming their dressing was inviting trouble,” Lye said.
“Also, if it is true that the CCTV system at the council chamber was faulty, then the onus is on the council to repair it.”
Abu Bakar had claimed on Saturday that the CCTV incident would not have happened if the journalist’s attire was not sexy. He also said a dress code would be drawn up for the media.
The same day, New Straits Times journalist Melissa Darlyne Chow, 23, lodged a police report in which she alleged that the CCTV operator in the control room had outraged her modesty by focussing the camera on her thighs. Chow had said she was wearing decent office attire and her skirt was knee length when she attended the council meeting on Friday.
Penang Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon said it was inappropriate for Abu Bakar to remark that if the dresses of women journalists were not sexy, the camera would not have zoomed on their thighs.
He said the council should instead focus on the investigation on the incident.
State MCA youth chief Ooi Chuan Aik called for an independent body to be set up to investigate the incident.
“The council president should look into how to prevent a recurrence,” he said.
State Economic Planning, Education and Human Resource, Science, Technology and Innovation Committee chairman Datuk Dr Toh Kin Woon said Abu Bakar’s statement was very insulting to women and described the incident as a “serious case of harassment.”
State Local Government, Traffic Management, Information and Community Relations Committee chairman Datuk Dr Teng Hock Nan however said Abu Bakar’s remark on the sexy dressing was probably a miscommunication or uttered in jest.
“Abu Bakar’s comment could have been overheard by reporters and not meant to be recorded,” he said.
In Kuala Lumpur, Women, Family and Community Development Ministry parliamentary secretary Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun said female journalists had the right to wear skirts to government functions as long as the attire reached the knees.
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