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New Speaker Azhar makes Azeez apologise for ‘gelap’ remark

14 Jul 2020 / 15:24 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: Newly-appointed Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun has ordered Baling MP Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim to apologise to Batu Kawan MP Kasthuriraani Patto for the offensive remarks he directed at her during Monday’s sitting.

He said he came to the decision after looking at the Dewan Rakyat Hansard and found that the word “gelap” (dark) used by Abdul Azeez was offensive.

He added that the recommendation that she “pakai bedak” (use facial powder) were unparliamentary and offensive.

“I want YB Baling to apologise and retract that statement,“he said in a ruling yesterday.

After the Speaker’s orders, Abdul Azeez said he will comply but wished to explain himself.

He explained that he had no intention to call anyone “gelap” (dark) and neither did he have any intention of using a racist slur on anyone.

“I sat in that same spot for two years, that area is very dark, it usually doesn’t receive any attention from the Speaker.

“When I said dark, I meant the area is dark, it’s not very visible. I think it’s important for netizens to know that I wasn’t calling any person dark because Allah has made me dark too. So, there’s no reason for me to call anyone dark.

“However, I retract my statement and I apologise,” said Abdul Azeez.

Boos could be heard in the background as he made his apology.

The war of words and sexist remarks came up after Kasthuriraani questioned why there were no women named in the Parliament Select Committee.

There was an uproar as Abdul Azeez made the comments to Kasthuriraani with Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh interjecting asking Abdul Azeez to apologise.

Azhar then advised lawmakers to be careful with their words and to avoid sexist, racist, offensive and unparliamentary terms.

Kasthuriraani stood up and thanked Azhar for his decision but pressed him for a harsher penalty against Abdul Azeez.

She accused the backbencher of being a repeated offender when it comes to sexist and racist statements.

Kasthuriraani during a press conference later pointed out that this is not the first time the Baling MP had made such remarks.

She said in 2014 and 2015 he had used the word “pondan” in the Dewan but was let off lightly.

“It has been eight years since the Parliamentary Standing Orders had been amended but vulgar, racist and sexist remarks continue to roll off the tongues of some unrepentant MPs,“ she said.

She hoped such remarks would be the last of this kind of unparliamentary language in the Dewan.

Housing and Local Government Minster Zuraida Kamaruddin, representing Perikatan Nasional females MPs, said she hoped this would be the last time such sexist remarks were made in the Dewan.

She said action should be taken against those who make such remarks.

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