Outrage prompts Malaysian senator to backtrack on anti-seduction law

PKR senator Mohamad Imran Abd Hamid outlined his proposal in parliament. Source: Supplied

After widespread criticism, a Malaysian senator has now withdrawn a proposal for a new law to protect men from being 'seduced' by women into committing rape.

A member of the ruling coalition’s People’s Justice Party said he is now sorry for proposing a new law to protect men from being seduced by women into committing sexual crimes.

“While my intentions were sincere, I did not expect it to be seen as a huge mistake that has offended many women and no less men who considered it insulting,” he said.

On Wednesday, Mohamad Imran Abdul Hamid told the senate, known as the Dewan Negara, that a new law was needed to protect men.

"I propose a Sexual Harassment Act to protect men," he said according to a report in local news outlet Malaysiakini.

“From the actions, words and clothing of women, which can cause men to be seduced to the point they can commit acts such as incest, rape, molestation, (watching) pornography and likewise."

Anwar Ibrahim, the leader of People’s Justice Party and touted as the next prime minister, had called on Mohamad Imran to retract his words, saying they were an insult to women.

"The proposal gives the impression that men were immoral and easily seduced into committing vile acts," he said in a statement.

MP Mohamad Imran Abd Hamid (centre) speaks in Parliament on Tuesday.
MP Mohamad Imran Abd Hamid (centre) speaks in Parliament on Tuesday.

Mohd Imran, a retired navy commodore and former Lumut MP, added that his proposal should be given due consideration so that "the men in this country are safe, and the country is peaceful."

Human rights watchdog Suaram immediately called for Imran to issue a public apology and retract his remarks, saying such claims were “absurd”.

“It is equally appalling that there was no immediate censure against the senator by the presiding deputy speaker at the time nor other senators in the upper house," Suaram executive director Sevan Doraisam said.

“The fact that a senator was able to utter such remarks shows the level of ignorance and apathy towards gender-based violence and gender discrimination among lawmakers within Dewan Negara.”

The All Women’s Action Society (AWAM) joined the chorus of criticism by saying the "idea that victims are unable to access justice or demand some form of redress after undergoing such a dehumanising experience simply adds to the creation of a culture of fear and violence.”

“After all, it is the perpetrator who must take responsibility for their own actions,” the organisation said in a statement.

“Underlying all of this is the assumption that gender-based violence stems from desire or lust. However, such violence is never about desire or lust. It is about power and objectification."

Mohd Imran made similar remarks in 2015 when he claimed athletes wearing "sexy" attire at sporting events might encourage illicit sex. 

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch