Baling MP retracts remark and apologises

AN Umno lawmaker was ordered to apologise and retract the alleged sexist and racist remarks made against a fellow parliamentarian.

The order was made by newly minted Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun against Baling MP Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim.

Azhar said he came to the decision after looking at the Hansard and found that the word “gelap” (dark) was used, which was offensive.

Azeez was said to have uttered the word in the Dewan Rakyat against Batu Kawan MP Kasthuriraani Patto.

“I want YB Baling to apologise and retract the word, ” Azhar said in a ruling yesterday.

Azeez, who said he would abide by the decision of the Speaker, said he had no intention to call anyone “gelap”.

“YB Speaker, I have been sitting in the same area where she sits. That area is dark and often, those seated there do not get the attention of the Speaker.

“So it is important for the people to know that I had no intention to call anyone ‘gelap’ because God has made me dark too. I retract and apologise, ” he said.

Azhar then urged all lawmakers to be careful with their words and hoped that no derogatory words would be used in their debates.

Kasthuriraani interjected and thanked Azhar for his ruling.

“YB Baling is also a repeat offender. Many MPs, especially women, have been victims of his jibe and taunts.

“I urge the Speaker to take stricter action, ” she said.

Separately, Ampang MP Zuraida Kamaruddin said she hoped no sexist remarks would be uttered in the House in the future.

Zuraida said Azhar and Deputy Speaker Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon were “gender-sensitive individuals”.

“We try to achieve zero sexist remarks for this term.

“The Speaker is gender sensitive and so is Rashid, ” she told a press conference at Parliament yesterday.

Zuraida also said that Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, as the first female deputy speaker, would definitely be very sensitive towards female issues.

“Azalina’s appointment is a historical and positive step for Malaysia.

“We believe that Azalina would not only defend women’s dignity but is also a good example and an inspiration to all women in Malaysia, ” Zuraida said.

In a separate press conference, Kasthuriraani said an amendment to the Standing Order 35(4) in 2012 had ensured provisions to safeguard men and women MPs from sexist and offensive language.

“However, it has been eight years since the amendment but such unparliamentary remarks still occur with no stern action taken, ” she said.

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