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Farce of “apology to all, limited apology and then no apology” of two sexist BN MPs - instead of gender-sensitising Cabinet, Shahrizat had been gender-desensitised!


Media Conference (2)      
by Lim Kit Siang  


(Parliament, Thursday) : The farce of the “apology to Po Kuan and all Malaysian women, then only to Malaysian women but not to Po Kuan, and then not even to Malaysian women” has shown the true colours of the two sexist Barisan Nasional (BN) MPs Datuk Mohd Said Yusof (Jasin) and Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin (Kinabatangan) who had brought shame and dishonour not only to Poh Kuan, but Parliament, Malaysian women and the nation’s international reputation. 

It is clear that both the duo had no sense of remorse or regret for their crude, vulgar, sexist gender-offensive remarks directed at DAP MP for Batu Gajah Fong Po Kuan in Parliament last Wednesday. 

However, they were prepared to apologise to Po Kuan and women, as they did yesterday morning, if it is politically necessary for them to do so to continue as BN MPs. 

They had tried to jump the gun yesterday morning by making public their apology to Po Kuan and Malaysian women for their sexist and gender-offensive remarks in Parliament last week because they were made to understand that the Cabinet would be directing them to issue such an apology. 

But when they found that the Cabinet had made no such decision, they quickly retracted their apology, at first excluding Po Kuan and later even withdrawing their apology to all Malaysian women altogether. 

This was cheap and low-class farce, bringing even more shame and dishonour to Parliament, Malaysian women and the nation.   

All Malaysian women and men must now tell the two sexist BN MPs – that their apology whether tomorrow or in the future are totally worthless, and that they must be given appropriate punishment not only for their gender-offensive  “male chauvinist” outbursts in Parliament last week but also for the low farce yesterday showing their utter contempt for common decency and public opinion.

Bung Mokhtar has also proved himself a liar when he claimed that he was provoked into such a “male-chauvinist” outburst because he was being called “binatang”.

Is Bung Mokhtar alleging that Po Kuan had called him “binatang” to justify directing derogatory, crude, vulgar, sexist and gender-offensive remarks at her? Po Kuan never used the word and I can personally vouch for it.

Can Bung Mokhtar prove that the word “binatang” had been used by Po Kuan or any other DAP MP against him, when we can prove that he and Mohd Said had used derogatory, crude, sexist and gender-offensive remarks?

Nobody would believe that Bung Mokhtar or the Parliamentary Mat Rempits would take it so docilely if Bung Mohtar had been called “binatang” as it would be full justification for them to go on a rampage to demand that it be withdrawn and apology tendered.

What is most pathetic in yesterday’s low farce is the role of the Women, Family and Community Development Minister, Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, who had come out of the whole episode in the worst possible light.

Shahrizat was supposed to educate the Cabinet Ministers about the subject of gender-sensitivity – but instead of gender-sensitising the Cabinet, she was gender-desensitised by the Cabinet meeting yesterday.

Why should the Cabinet relegate the issue of the two sexist BN MPs to be dealt with the Shahrizat, downgrading it to a minor and trivial problem? Is this what Shahrizat meant when she had earlier said that she would raise it in the Cabinet – for the football to be kicked officially to her Ministry?

Why can’t Shahrizat get the Cabinet to see the seriousness of the issue and to take a decision commensurate with the gravity of the offence committed by the two sexist BN MPs?

Or do we have not only these two MCP BN MPs, but a MCP Cabinet as well?

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


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

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