The verbally volatile Independent MP Ibrahim Ali and headline-grabbing Obedient Wives CLub (OWC) were among those ?honoured? by women?s rights group in a less-than-conventional award ceremony today.
The Aiyoh… Wat Lah?! Awards 2011 held at the Central Market Annexe conferred ?awards? to the six most discriminatory remarks by public figures and policymakers deemed sexist, misogynistic, homophobic or transphobic.
The award ceremony was hosted and presented by the ?vibrant and vivacious? Ribena Berry, the theatrical alter ego of award-winning playwright and actor Jo Kukathas.
Ibrahim bagged a trophy under the ?Insulting Intelligence? category for his jaw-dropping statement that extramarital affairs are caused by ?wives who neglect their responsibilities? to their husbands.
Berry cracked the audience into fits of laughter with remarks poking fun at Ibrahim, additionally reminding couples that a marital relationship ?is a two-way street that needs the collaboration of both partners?.
Those who shared the podium with Ibrahim include Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz who said ?homosexuality is unconstitutional? and Pahang cleric Abdul Rahman Osman who prophesied that ?humanity will become extinct as a result of homosexual relations?.
Others on the list were Kinabatang BN parliamentarian Bung Mokhtar Radin, PAS Youth leader Ahmad Zamri As’ad Khuzaimi and the Islamic Consultative Council (Mapim).
While the OWC, which came under fire for controversial views on the responsibilities of a Muslim wife, won the the award for ?Least Helpful To The Sisterhood?, for arguing that women should learn to ?serve their husbands like first-class prostitutes?.
Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s wife Rosmah Mansor was the only other nominee in the category, for “advising” women to refrain from “cah keting” (Kelantan colloquial words for backstabbing).
Other intriguing categories include:
Foot In Mouth:
Won by Penang Gerakan chief Teng Hock Nam for likening the upcoming Penang International Convention Centre to an “old woman” when developers hand it back to the state government at the end of the 30-year lease.
Nominees for the award were DAP Komtar assemblyperson Ng Wei Aik for referring to women who marry foreigners as traitors, Kedah Gerakan Youth chief Tan Keng Liang for implying Selangor assemblyperson Hannah Yeoh is unfit to contest in the election as she was pregnant and Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin for tweeting “Mungkin dia (Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng) roboh Kampung Buah Pala sebab nak ganti dengan Kampung Buah Dada”.
Won by the Immigration Department officers for the nude squat saga involving two Singaporean women.
Nominees were Najib for claiming that there is no gender discrimination in the workplace, Nazri for likening MCA to a complaining wife and for making light of offences such as abuse and rape, and Bung Mohktar for criticising women drivers for allegedly being the cause of road accidents.
Won by Perak assemblypersons Nga Kor Ming (DAP-Pantai Remis) and Hee Yit Foong (Ind-Jelapang) for indiscriminate use of the term ‘prostitute’ in apparent disregard of sex workers as humans.
There were no other nominees for the category.
Won by the Terengganu state government for introducing a boot camp to “cure effeminate” teenagers.
The only other nominee was the Malaysian government for refusing to recognise “male-to-female” transgenders.
The final category broke ranks by showcasing positive developments in the fight for gender equality.
?Right on Track?
was conferred to the decision by High Court Judge Zaleha Yusof who upheld that the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (Cedaw) is binding in Malaysia, in her judgment that using pregnancy as a reason for non-employment is a form of gender discrimination.
Organisers Smita Elana Sharma and Ivy Josiah from Joint Action Group Equality (JAG) said that the awards were not targeted at the individuals but at the discriminatory preconceptions held by many, when asked why the nominees were not invited to receive their awards.
The idea behind the Aiyoh… Wat Lah?! Awards came from similar awards overseas such as the Alamak! Awards in Singapore, said Smita.
“JAG issues statement whenever we read about these in the newspapers of portals but this time we decided to turn the tables to show that the joke is on them,” said Smita.
The nominations were collected from news reports last year and were voted internally by 74 representatives of the various member groups under JAG in seven days.
However, looking at the favourable response from audiences in the packed hall, Ivy said JAG may just open up online public voting for the awards next year.