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Parliamentary Roundtable of all political parties, NGOs and concerned Malaysians will be convened to demand “First-World Parliament NOW ” where there is no sexual harassment or “male chauvinist” sexist remarks

by Lim Kit Siang  


(Ipoh, Tuesday) : This morning in Kuala Lumpur, political parties and NGOs led by the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) held a protest at the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry to protest against the two sexist Barisan Nasional (BN) MPs, Datuk Mohd Said Yusof (Jasin) and Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin (Kinabatangan) for their crude, vulgar, sexist gender-offensive remarks and calling for an end to sexism in Parliament. 

I am glad that after failing to stand up in Parliament in solidarity with the DAP MP for Batu Gajah, Fong Po Kuan, who was the target of the male chauvinist attacks of the two sexist BN MPs, some BN Ministers and MPs are bowing to public opinion and are speaking up to dissociate themselves from the abominable conduct of Mohd Said and Bung Mokhtar.  

However, they must do more to make up for their regrettable failures on three critical occasions spanning 24 hours in Parliament last Wednesday and Thursday to denounce the two sexist BN MPs – for Parliament and the nation would not have  become objects of international ridicule and mockery if there had been  BN Ministers or MPs who dared to stand  up  in Parliament to  speak and act according to their conscience  of what is right and wrong! 

Even  worse, there had been  no shortage of BN Ministers and MPs who openly supported or condoned the two sexist MPs in their disgraceful exhibition of male chauvinism in the House, for instance the statement by Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak  that “it was not supposed to be taken seriously”, that it should be dealt  “with a sense of humour” and alleging that “But of course people are making a big meal out of this issue”. 

The issue at stake is not simply about Po Kuan’s dignity and self-respect, but also the dignity and self-respect of all women MPs and Malaysian women, Parliament as a “first-world Parliament” and the honour and international reputation of the nation, as this issue has again put Malaysia in  the international limelight and news but for all the wrong, negative and bad reasons. 

All are waiting to see whether the Cabinet meeting tomorrow will do justice to Po Kuan, Parliament, Malaysian women and the nation by coming out with a clear stand to condemn and punish the two sexist BN MPs as well as extending an apology over the disgraceful episode. 

When Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi became Prime Minister, Malaysians were promised a “First-World Parliament” but we have instead a ninth-class Parliament. 

I will  convene a Parliamentary Roundtable of all political parties, NGOs and concerned Malaysians to demand a “First-World Parliament NOW” where there is no sexual harassment and where “male chauvinist” sexist remarks will never be heard again in the highest legislative chamber in the land. 

I want to make two calls tonight: 

  1. Firstly, to call on  Najib to apologise for his insensitive remarks condoning the disgraceful conduct of the two sexist BN MPs when he said that their “male chauvinist” attacks on Po Kuan and all Malaysian women should not be taken seriously but “with a sense of humour”, which had compounded the offence committed by the two errant MPs.
  1. Secondly, to call on the relevant states and awarding authorities to strip both Mohd Said and Bung Mokhtar of their  “Datuk” titles which they have disgraced and dishonoured by their abominable conduct with their crude, vulgar, sexist, offensive, “male chauvinist” attacks on Po Kuan and all Malaysian women as well as bringing shame and dishonour to their state and nation, casting a dark shadow on the nation’s 50th Merdeka anniversary celebrations.



* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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