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Published: Tuesday November 27, 2012 MYT 3:15:00 PM
Updated: Tuesday November 27, 2012 MYT 3:57:37 PM

Amendment passed to bar sexist remarks in Parliament

KUALA LUMPUR: The Dewan Rakyat Tuesday adopted an amendment to its rules to prohibit sexist remarks in the House.

The Standing Order 36(4), which was being amended, will now read: "It shall be out of order for Members of the House to use offensive language or make a sexist remark."

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, when winding up debates on the motion, said it was necessary to amend the rule to put a stop to innuendos on words that would normally be deemed ordinary.

"For example, the word bocor, on its own, it is not deemed sexist but when connotations or innuendos are made during a debate, it carries a different meaning," said Nazri.

The Speaker, he added, would have the power to decide what is deemed as a sexist remark and what action should be taken.

Nazri also agreed to suggestions that all MPs be required to undergo gender-sensitive courses by the Women, Family and Community Development Ministrry.

He said Speakers and deputies should also attend the course.

On Gobind Singh Deo's (DAP-Puchong) suggestion of having a female Speaker, Nazri told reporters later that they would look into the suggestion.

However, he said female Speakers would be appointed not because of their gender but because of their capabilities.

He noted that the Senate presently has female deputy speaker.

To a suggestion by Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan), Nazri replied that it was not necessary to amend the Standing Order to bar provocative statements, adding that it was a norm and "spices of parliamentary debate."

Bung Mokthar, in the debate earlier, blamed provocative statements as a reason why sexists remarks were sometimes made.

However, he agreed that the Standing Order be amended to include the phrase sexist remarks.

Bung Mokhtar is infamously known for his 2007 "bocor" remark when he referred to Fong Po Kuan's (DAP-Batu Gajah) menstruation cycle when arguing about Parliament's leaking ceiling.

Overall, MPs agreed for the two amendments to be made to the Standing Order, which included the submission of electronic documents.

Related Stories:
MPs agree offensive language must be put to a stop in Parliament
Parliament rules to be amended to bar MPs from making sexist remarks

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