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ASEAN MPs deplores sexism in
Malaysian Parliament by Mohd Said and Bung Mokhtar as affront and outrage to
all ASEAN MPs and ASEAN women which deserves fullest condemnation by all
ASEAN Parliamentarians and ASEAN civil society
(Tokyo, Monday) : ASEAN Members of Parliament attending the International Conference of Japanese Diet Members and ASEAN Parliamentarians on “The International Symposium of the Way to Democratise Burma” in Tokyo today agreed that sexism in Parliament by two Barisan Nasional (BN) MPs, Datuk Mohd Said Yusof (Jasin) and Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin (Kinabatangan) are an affront and outrage to all ASEAN MPs and ASEAN women and deserve fullest condemnation by all ASEAN Parliamentarians and ASEAN civil society.
ASEAN MPs are very distressed by the rank sexism in the Malaysian Parliament on May 9 when Mohd Said and Bung Mokhtar made crude vulgar, derogatory, sexist and gender-offensive remarks at the woman MP for Batu Gajah Fong Po Kuan.
This was more than a shame and dishonour to Po Kuan, Malaysian Parliament, Malaysian women and Malaysia’s international reputation.
It was also an affront and outrage to all ASEAN MPs and ASEAN women and deserves the fullest condemnation by all ASEAN Parliamentarians and ASEAN civil society as sexism has no place in a progressive ASEAN.
This was why there was also global affront and outrage, with MPs and State Legislators attending the GlobalPOWER (Partnership of Women Elected/Appointed Representatives) 2007 Conference in Washington May 7 – 11, 2007 being the first global response to the “sexist and demeaning statements that male Members of Parliament in Malaysia made to their women colleagues”.
The GlobalPOWER 2007 statement, issued by woman Parliamentarians from four continents, i.e. Asia, North America, Europe and Africa who attended the Conference, pledged that they “stand in solidarity with our sisters in the Parliament of Malaysia and demand that the Parliament censure the Members who verbally insulted and denigrated their colleagues”.
The GlobalPOWER 2007 statement said:
It is most regrettable and deplorable that 12 days after the unacceptable exhibition of male chauvinism in the Malaysian Parliament, there has been no proper and honourable closure of the disgraceful incident and the two errant MPs had been able to get away with their deplorable conduct with impunity.
ASEAN MPs agree that the seeming apologies which the duo had made last Friday merely added insult to injury, as they were not genuine apologies at all on close examination but back-handed justification of their unacceptable sexist conduct.
There was not only no remorse or contrition on the part of the duo for their sexual harassment of Po Kuan and insult to women of Malaysia, ASEAN and the world, they stubbornly made clear their intention to repeat their irresponsible conduct if the same set of circumstances presented themselves again!
In the era of information and communications technology, the people of ASEAN are now in a borderless world. ASEAN will be celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Both these factors must be inspiration for ASEAN MPs to come together to express the ASEAN community spirit for justice, fair play, freedom, solidarity and respect for women, children and family.
The Po Kuan case will be the first for ASEAN MPs to act and declare that an affront to and attack of a woman MP in one ASEAN country because of her gender is an affront and attack on all women and men MPs in ASEAN and deserves the fullest denunciation of the ASEAN Parliamentary community and civil society.
A joint statement will be issued by ASEAN MPs in Tokyo tomorrow demonstrating support and solidarity with Po Kuan. Among those who have declared support for the joint statement are Senator Aquilino Pimentel, Philippines Senate Minority Leader, Indonesian MP Nursyahbani Katjasungkana, Cambodian MP Son Chhay and former Thai MP Buranaj Smutharaks.