May 16, 2007

Women want 'bocor' MPs penalised

This is not the first time such statements have been made by the same MP, refer to MalaysiaKini's "sexist remarks" chart :

(The Sun) The Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) has demanded an immediate public apology from the two MPs involved in the 'bocor' issue.

It wanted the two - Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan) and Datuk Mohd Said Yusof (BN-Jasin) - to also apologise to fellow MPs and be disciplined by Parliament.

"We are outraged by the sexist behaviour of certain MPs and condemn the remarks made by the two which were extremely offensive to the particular female MP they were directed at," JAG said in a statement read out by Women's Development Collective (WDC) executive director Maria Chin Abdullah.

"Also, in referring to a natural biological function of the female body, the remarks were discriminatory against women in general."

WDC is one of the non-governmental organisations under JAG besides the All Women's Action Society, Women's Aid Organisation, Sisters in Islam (SIS), Women's Centre for Change and Women's Committee of the Malaysian Trade Union Congress.

The statement was read at a 50-woman-strong demonstration held in front of the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry here this morning.

It was later handed over to the minister, Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, who came down 15 minutes after the gathering started and stayed to speak to the group for less than 10 minutes.

Shahrizat said there is no need to be emotional over the matter and bring it to the street as the government is taking it seriously.

"All MPs are expected to be gender-sensitive and not to make sexist remarks. The law is very clear. The language they used was unparliamentary," she said.

"I will bring this up with the Cabinet tomorrow which is the more appropriate channel."

Also present at the gathering were representatives - male and female - of Suaram, Malaysian Youth and Students Democratic Movement, PAS, DAP, Keadilan and even MCA.

Maria said insensitive comments made against woman MP Fong Po Kuan (DAP-Batu Gajah) reflected an underlying, deeply entrenched culture of sexism and gender discrimination within Parliament.

JAG also asked Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who chairs the cabinet committee on gender equality, Shahrizat and the Parliamentary Gender Caucus to take immediate action to end all forms of sexism and discrimination in Parliament.

"We demand that any MP who continues to ill-behave in Parliament should be suspended for six months and his pay and allowances be cut during that period," Maria said.

"Malaysians deserve better quality representatives in Parliament.

She said from from their observation, the recent incident was not isolated.

They have identified three other MPs who have been involved in such sexism since 2001, namely Datuk Mohamed Aziz (BN-Sri Gading), Datuk Badruddin Amiruldin (BN-Jerai) and Abdul Fatah Harun (PAS-Rantau Panjang).

Felicia Ling, of Cheras MCA Wanita, said the MPs must apologise to their mothers, wives, sisters and daughters for having made such remarks.

Keadilan Wanita chief Fuziah Salleh expressed disappointment with Barisan Nasional MPs as they had kept quiet while the incident was going on last week.

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