Women MPs decry inaction on Bung Mokhtar's sexist remarks

15 Jun 2015 / 19:10 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: Women MPs today expressed their dissatisfaction with what they termed as "repeated inaction" by the Dewan Rakyat speaker on sexist remarks uttered by Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan).
Zuraida Kamaruddin (PKR-Ampang) said according to Standing Orders 36 (4) it is an offence for all MPs to make sexist statements and yet Bung Mokhtar had always gotten off scot-free.
"Kinabatangan interjected during my debate on June 9, I checked the hansard first because I do not want to be reckless about this, and he said 'I worry for her husband as he will be frightened of this situation'.
"And when I urged the speaker to refer him to the Rights and Privileges Committee, it was rejected as usual and he was let off easily," she told a press conference at Parliament lobby.
Earlier in Parliament, Zuraida attempted to refer Bung Mokhtar to the Rights and Privileges Committee for his statements uttered on June 9 but the move was rejected by deputy speaker Datuk Ronald Kiandee (BN-Beluran) as she failed to raise the matter when it happened.
Zuraida argued that she needed the assurance of the hansard and Ronald then told Bung Mokhtar to explain himself and the latter repeated his statements from June 9, which prompted Fuziah Salleh (PKR-Kuantan) to demand a retraction.
Bung Mokhtar said he was merely trying to calm an "aggressive" Zuraida and said it would be bad for her household for her to behave in such a manner, and Ronald let him off after he said it was not done with malicious intent.
"Not once was there any action taken on him, and we the female parliamentarians are disappointed by the actions of the speaker who let him off easily," Zuraida said.
Siti Mariah Mahmud (PAS-Kota Raja) said they knew they heard Bung Mokhtar say something wrong but needed to be sure and thus waited for the hansard before raising the matter in the house.
She added that matters of the house have no relation whatsoever to their husbands and thus it is inappropriate to involve them during debates and speeches in Parliament.
Teo Nie Ching said she is very unsatisfied with Ronald's handling of the matter, saying that asking Bung Mokhtar whether he has malicious intent is self-defeating.
"If you ask a liar if he is a liar, will he admit that he is a liar? The intention is unimportant, because if you ask if he has bad intentions of course he won't say he has bad intentions," Teo said.


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