Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Women want 'bocor (leaking)' MPs penalised

Taken from The SUN

KUALA LUMPUR (May 15, 2007):
Husna Yusop
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.

My Comments:
The only way is to show them the peoples power. Don't elect this MP in next election. We have to only elect a person who lives there and have served the people there and have a good tract record with the people. But are we ready to show people's power? Or the people are too weak for that?

I agree "Malaysians deserve better quality representatives in Parliament."

“Where is the leak? Batu Gajah MP also leaks every month,” Bung Mokhtar was quoted as saying." ..... Does any one see the relation of the building leak with a woman?

Read also :

Outrage grows against ‘Bocor’ MPs
Pauline Puah, Hwa Yue-Yi and R. Manirajan

KUALA LUMPUR (May 14, 2007): The "bo­cor" issue, which caused an uproar in the Dewan Rakyat (Parliament) last week, has spilled over.
The parliamentarians who were responsible for the remark that offended women received a dressing down in the Dewan Negara today.
And elsewhere, women’s groups are preparing a protest gathering tomorrow, with calls being made for a mechanism to “take care of this kind of behaviour”.
In the Dewan Negara, Deputy Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Wong Kam Hoong said the rough remarks made by some MPs had ruined the govern­ment’s campaign to create a well-mannered society.
He was answering a supplementary question from Gooi Hoe Hin, who suggested the ministry hold a courtesy course for “some parliamentarians”.
“Our courtesy campaign has been ruined. Pak Lah’s programme to build a first class human capital has been ruined as well.
“As MPs, we should be careful on our conduct and the way we talk, especially issues on women whom we respect,” Wong said.
He said the lot of MPs had been besmirched.
“Repeatedly (they made inappropriate remarks). How do they face their family, mothers, daughters, sisters, especially when yesterday) was Mother’s Day? I am very disappointed,” Wong said, without naming the MPs.
He said the ministry would submit a report on the matter to the premier.

Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin (BN – Kinabatangan) and Datuk Mohd Said Yusof (BN – Jasin) had raised an outcry for uttering a sexist remark against Fong Po Kuan (DAP – Batu Gajah) during a heated exchange about the ceiling leakage in Parliament last Wednesday (May 9).

“Where is the leak? Batu Gajah MP also leaks every month,” Bung Mokhtar was quoted as saying.

Earlier, in answering another question pertaining to this issue, Women, Family and Community Development Ministry parliamentary secretary Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun said the minister concerned would bring this matter to the cabinet soon.

At a function today, Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat said she wants action to be taken to ensure that remarks that insult or belittle women will not be repeated in Parliament.

“I feel hurt at what hap­pened and I want concrete steps taken to ensure that similar incidents do not recur.
“I will raise the matter at the cabinet meeting on Wednesday to discuss the steps to be taken,” she said.
“This has been happening many times and must not be taken lightly. More importantly, we want action.”
At another function, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was also asked about this matter.

Initially, he said it was up to Parliament to decide, but when pressed whether it was proper for MPs to make such remarks, he said: “I don’t want to pass judgment about what they said. They said it in a very ... It was not supposed to be taken seriously, I think if you take it with a sense of humour, then ... But of course people are making a big meal out of this issue.”
Outside Parliament, the Joint Action Group on Gen­der Equality (JAG) is organi­sing a public protest tomorrow outside the Women, Family and Community Develop­ment Ministry in the Bukit Perdana Government Complex.

The protest will start at 11am with the reading of a statement from the group, after which JAG representatives hope to meet the minister.

“What we aim to achieve is to stop all this discrimination and sexism in the Parliament, and also to ensure there is a mechanism to take care of this kind of behaviour,” Women’s Development Collective executive director Maria Chin Abdullah said on behalf of JAG.
Women’s Aid Organi­sation executive director Ivy Josiah noted that from as early as 2000, there had been a pattern of chauvinistic remarks by the MPs.
“Occasionally there was an apology and what appeared to be a slap on the wrist, but it is not addressing the deep-seated sexist culture. There is this attitude that women are fair game,” she said.

She noted that in 2002, the banner organisation Women’s Agenda for Change submitted a three-page memorandum to the House Speaker, highlighting examples of sexist and lewd language in Parliament and urging that sexual harassment prohibitions be incorporated in the Parliamentary code of conduct.

“Hopefully we will not have to wait another five years,” she added.
The All Women's Action Society (AWAM) said in a statement the comments by Bung Mokhtar and Mohd Said insulted every girl and woman.
AWAM said “letting [the MPs] off without even a reprimand, or making them apologise, sends the signal that sexual harassment of women is acceptable”.
DAP leaders today sent a letter of protest to the office of Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak, who is also BN Whip.

The party is also organising a forum on this issue on May 17 night in Wisma YMCA in Brickfields.In the letter, the DAP called for the suspension and the sacking of the two BN MPs over their sexist remarks.

“Repeatedly (they made inappropriate remarks). How do they face their family, mothers, daughters, sisters, especially when yesterday) was Mother’s Day? I am very disappointed,” Wong said, without naming the MPs.

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