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Annuar Claims His Stance On Sexual Harassment In Entertainment Industry Was Misinterpreted

Utusan Malaysia had quoted the Communication and Multimedia Minister saying that it is unnecessary to magnify cases of sexual harassment in the entertainment industry as the focus should be on positive things.

Cover image via Tan Sri Annuar Musa (Facebook)

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Communication and Multimedia Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa has denied downplaying sexual harassment in the entertainment industry

He took to his official Facebook page today, 21 November to release a statement following a report in Utusan Malaysia that quoted the Communication and Multimedia Minister saying that it is unnecessary to magnify cases of sexual harassment in the entertainment industry as the focus should be on positive things.

Utusan Malaysia had reported that Annuar explained to Mingguan Malaysia that industry players should prioritise positive things over isolated issues of sexual harassment that have allegedly occurred.

I don't think the issue needs to be magnified. Focus on the positives from isolated cases.
Annuar Musa

His ministry is responsible for overseeing and regulating all forms of content including communications, multimedia, broadcasting, media industry, film industry, international broadcasting among others.

Annuar had reportedly said this when asked to comment on the revelations by industry players on the issue of sexual harassment that occurred against artists, celebrities, and production crews

In the report, Utusan Malaysia said that the minister was asked if the positive thing was to develop and continue to improve the quality of the country's art industry, Annuar replied with a simple "yes".

Image via Utusan Malaysia

However, the minister now claims that his stand was misinterpreted by the reporter who reached out to interview him via WhatsApp

In the statement posted on his Facebook page, Annuar wrote that the reporter had suggested the topic of the interview to be about sexual harassment in the Malaysian entertainment industry.

"But I suggested that the interview discuss my main focus at the moment, which is the development of the (entertainment) industry to help art practitioners in the country," the minister wrote.

"Unfortunately, what came out was the reporter's interpretation which did not reflect my stance."

His ministry, Annuar said, takes sexual harassment seriously

Denying that sexual harassment is a trivial issue, the minister described it as a criminal offence.

"This issue will not be resolved by treating any party involved lightly, instead, it requires full efforts from the media and the authorities as well as those involved," he wrote, adding that he has alerted the police.

Read the minister's full statement here:

If you or someone you know may be at risk or has experienced sexual abuse or assault, please reach out to these Malaysian organisations:

1. WOMEN'S AID ORGANISATION (WAO)
Operating hours: 24-hour
Contact: +603-30008858
SMS/WhatsApp: +6018-9888058
Website | Facebook | Twitter

2. ALL WOMEN'S ACTION SOCIETY (AWAM)
Operating hours: Monday to Friday (9.30am - 5.30pm)
Contact: +603-78770224
WhatsApp/Telegram: +6016-2284221 | +6016-2374221
Email: [email protected]
Website | Facebook | Twitter

3. WOMEN'S CENTRE FOR CHANGE PENANG (WCC PENANG)
Operating hours: Monday to Friday (9am - 5pm)
Contact: +604-2280342 | +604-3988340
WhatsApp: +6011-31084001 | +6016-4180342
Email: [email protected]
Website | Facebook | Twitter

4. SARAWAK WOMEN FOR WOMEN SOCIETY (SWWS)
Operating hours: Monday (7pm - 9pm),Tuesday to Thursday (9.30am - 11.30am), Saturday (2pm - 4pm)
Contact: +6082-368853
SMS/WhatsApp: +6016-5822660 | +6013-8044285
Email: [email protected]
Website | Facebook | Twitter

5. SABAH WOMEN'S ACTION-RESOURCE GROUP (SAWO)
Operating hours: Monday to Friday (9am - 5pm)
Contact: +6088-280200 | +6011-27908020
Email: [email protected]
Website | Facebook | Twitter

6. PROTECT AND SAVE THE CHILDREN (PS THE CHILDREN)
Operating hours: Monday to Friday (3pm - 12am)
WhatsApp: +6016-7213065
Email: [email protected]
Website | Facebook | Twitter

7. INTERNET WATCH FOUNDATION (IWF)
Anonymously and confidentially report child sexual abuse content and non-photographic child sexual abuse images with IWF's Reporting Portal.

Earlier, a Malaysian actor was chastised for making distasteful remarks while he described a rape scene filmed over a decade ago:

To understand how workplace sexual harassment is not an isolated issue here, read this Op-ed by broadcast journalist Tehmina Kaoosji: