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Mohd Said and Bung Mokhtar Radin must apologise in Parliament both to Po Kuan and Parliament for the crude, sexist and gender-offensive remarks in the “bocor” scandal as Parliament is higher and not lower than the Cabinet
(Parliament, Wednesday): The answer by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz yesterday that the Cabinet regards the “bocor” scandal involving Barisan Nasional (BN) MPs, Datuk Mohd Said Yusof (Jasin) and Datuk Bung Mohtar Radin (Kinabatangan) as settled is completely unsatisfactory and unacceptable.
In a written reply to my question, Nazri said: "The government has reminded everyone, especially members of parliament, and those in high positions to always be mindful and responsible in their actions.
"We hope the issue will serve as an example to all. We regret that the episode happened but we regard this matter as closed."
It is no use the government expressing “regret” for the episode when the two culprits, Mohd Said and Bung Moktar are openly defiant and unrepentant as evident from their fake apologies, on six grounds:
Firstly, both of them refused to make a personal apology to Fong Po Kuan (MP for Batu Gajah), the target of their crude, derogatory, sexist and gender-offensive remarks which women groups have described as “sexual harassment in Parliament”.
Secondly, there was no remorse or contrition in making the apology, even to Malaysian women. Both tendered their apology “if women were offended” – implying that there was nothing wrong with their remarks but with women if they were offended!
Thirdly, they justified their sexist and male-chauvinist attacks at Po Kuan on the ground that they were necessary to defend the government during debates.
Fourthly, the above statement was as good as a declaration that they would have no hesitation in repeating their crude, derogatory, sexist and gender-offensive remarks in similar circumstances in future if they deem it necessary to defend the Barisan Nasional and the Government.
Fifthly, both had lied when they claimed that they had been “provoked” to make the crude, derogatory, sexist and gender-offensive attacks on Po Kuan. The video footage of this disgraceful parliamentary conduct is up on YouTube, Google and many blogs. On YouTube alone, which received a four-and-a-half star rating, it was viewed more than 61,551 times.
All can see that when Mohd Said and Bung Mokhtar made the crude, derogatory, sexist and gender-offensive remarks, neither Po Kuan nor any DAP MP was out to insult them or was making “unfounded, baseless claims”, as they were legitimately trying to raise in the House the scandal of Parliament leaking again after a RM90 million renovation less than two years ago!
Both Mohd Said and Bung Mokhtar made the sexist attacks on Po Kuan when there was no provocation – when totally unprovoked! If both of them could tell such a bare-faced lie when the video footage is available for all to see, how could anyone believe in any of their claims and statements?
Sixthly, they had added insult to injury in humiliating Malaysian women when Mohd Said alleged that “the incident was manipulated by the opposition who pictured it (the incident) negatively, and made it look different from what really happened in the Dewan Rakyat” while Bung Mokhtar said the incident was blown out of proportion by DAP by highlighting it in the media and dragging along the women’s organizations in the country.
For the Cabinet under these circumstances to maintain that the “fake apologies” of Mohd Said and Bung Mokhtar are adequate and that the parliamentary scandal of the sexist and gender-offensive episode is “closed” is a contempt of Parliament – as Nazri and Cabinet Ministers seem to have forgotten that Parliament under our Constitution and system of government is a higher institution than Cabinet and not the other way round!
As the sexist scandal happened in Parliament, it must be “settled” in Parliament with proper remedy and not in Cabinet or Barisan Nasional.
The civil society, in a public forum in Kuala Lumpur in May, unanimously agreed that Mohd Said and Bung Mohtar had been guilty of sexual harassment of Po Kuan and had brought shame and dishonour to Parliament, Malaysian women and the nation’s reputation internationally.
They agreed that the suitable penalty for the duo is the following five-point punishment:
The sexist conduct of the Jasin and Kinabatangan MPs in the “bocor” scandal is certainly not closed, and I call on all MPs, including from Barisan Nasional, to take a stand to demand that proper punishment should be meted out to the two for their gross breach of privilege and unrepentant attitudes to date.
For a start, Mohd Said and Bung Mokhtar Radin must apologise in Parliament both to Po Kuan and Parliament for the crude, sexist and gender-offensive remarks in the “bocor” scandal as Parliament is higher and not lower than the Cabinet.