Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) supports YB Kasthuri Patto’s proposal of two amendments to the Standing Orders of Parliament, which would strengthen enforcement against sexist, racist and offensive remarks made by MPs in Dewan Rakyat.
The recent racial and sexist slurs made by YB Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahi towards YB Kasthuri were unacceptable.
Gender-based attacks against women Members of Parliament and other politicians are not new or one-off occurrences. They represent a larger pattern of gender-based violence and discrimination against women leaders and women generally–and serve to deter and curb women’s political participation and freedom of expression.
Throughout the history of Parliament, when incidents of racism and sexism have occured, there have been no serious consequences for the offender. When such issues have arised, the Member of Parliament is simply told to retract their statement and make an apology, with no further repercussions. YB Kasthuri’s proposal to amend the Standing Orders of the Dewan Rakyat under the Rules of Debate, Section 36, would help remedy the culture of impunity for gender-based attacks by Members of Parliament.
The first proposed amendment would automatically refer any MP who makes a sexist, racist, or other offensive remark or uses words that are likely to promote ill-will between different communities to the Committee of Privileges for an inquiry, while the second proposed amendment would impose a penalty of at least RM500 for any MP found by the Committee of Privileges to have committed a violation.
WAO urges Dewan Rakyat Speaker and Chairman of the Standing Orders Committee, Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun, to carry this motion to the committee and help change the established culture of impunity.
MPs who represent the people must hold themselves to high standards of conduct.
We must have zero tolerance for attacks against women politicians and women’s voices, which are attacks on our democracy itself.
About Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO)
Since 1982, Women’s Aid Organisation has provided free shelter, counselling, and crisis support to women and children who experience abuse. We help women and their children rebuild their lives, after surviving domestic violence, rape, trafficking, and other atrocities. Learning from women’s experiences, we advocate to improve public policies and shift public mindsets. Together, we change lives.
Call the WAO Hotline at 03 7956 3488 or SMS/WhatsApp TINA at 018 988 8058 if you or someone you know is experiencing abuse. For more information, visit wao.org.my.
For more information, please contact:
Natasha Dandavati, Head of Campaigns
Rusni Tajari, Senior Advocacy Officer
firstname.lastname@example.org / 60133802287