KUALA LUMPUR: A Member of Parliament has questioned how Dewan Rakyat will deal with sexist remarks if lawmakers have immunity when making such comments in the august House.
The issue was raised by Teo Nie Ching (PH-Kulai) who said that several MPs were previously prone to making sexist remarks while in the House.
She accused Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim (BN-Baling) (pic), Bung Moktar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan) and Tajuddin Abdul Rahman (BN-Pasir Salak) of frequently making sexist remarks.
“When this Act is enforced, will there be a change in Parliament?
"When the tribunal is set up and these MPs continue to make sexist remarks, can they be hauled up before the tribunal?” she asked when debating the Sexual Harrasment Bill in the Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday (July 19).
She said Parliament would have failed to protect the dignity of women MPs if those making such remarks got away due to parliamentary immunity.
The MPs cited by Teo had previously drawn flak for making sexist remarks involving several female MPs.
A brief shouting match then ensued between Teo and Abdul Azeez when the latter stood up to interject.
He said there were times when the Dewan Rakyat Speaker was accused by the Opposition MPs of being “barua” (lapdog).
"The remarks made (against the Speaker) are rude and harsh. There are reasons why we make such remarks.
"When you have MPs calling the Speaker ‘barua’ (lapdog), we will get angry," he retorted.
Ramkarpal Singh (PH-Bukit Gelugor) and Kasthuri Patto (PH-Batu Kawan) also joined in the shouting match with the former questioning Abdul Azeez if he was justifying resorting to sexist remarks in the House.
Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Datuk Rashid Hasnon later diffused the situation by reminding Teo that she had used up the time allotted to her for debate.
The Sexual Harassment Bill was tabled for the second reading and is expected to be passed on Wednesday (July 20).