Veteran newsman A Kadir Jasin took Anwar Ibrahim to task today over the prime minister's response to a Form Six student who had asked about the economy and ringgit performance at a recent dialogue session, saying he must be "serious about his position and disposition".
Anwar had praised the girl on the delivery of her questions before joking that if he were younger, he would have asked for her phone number.
His remark came under fire from a number of social media users as well as federal opposition party Bersatu.
Kadir said in a Facebook post that Anwar's behaviour and demeanour should be befitting of a country leader.
"He cannot be behaving like bashful teenager or 'meghenyeh' like an amorous ageing film star," he added.
"He's the Madani prime minister of the age of open and spontaneous communications. His every word, movement and gesture is continuously recorded and shared."
Kadir added that while Anwar could crack jokes, they should be "funny and tasteful".
"We don't want him to be a bore," he said. "But joking about asking a teenage student her phone number, had he been younger, was out of line."
Adding that humour was "an art", he said failed humour could turn into "vulgarity".
"Yes, some over-excited masters of ceremony may cajole him to dance to his favorite Hindi tune, but that doesn't mean he has to enthusiastically transform himself into Shah Rukh Khan.
"The late Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra and Tun Abdul Razak Hussein did the 'joget'. Even Lee Kuan. But they did it with grace and finess."