Shahrir cannot distinguish between right and wrong – as to criticise Po Kuan and back the two sexist BN MPs

Public Accounts Committee Chairman and Barisan Nasional (BN) MP for Johor Baru, Datuk Shahrir Samad is losing his critical faculty of distinguishing between right and wrong when he has the heart to criticize the DAP MP for Batu Gajah, Fong Po Kuan, the victim again of parliamentary “male chauvinist” attacks, but does not have the nerve to castigate the two sexist BN MPs, Datuk Mohd Said Yusof (Jasin) and Datuk Bung Moktar Radin (Kinabatangan), for their abominable conduct.

I do not know what Shahrir meant when he said yesterday that the opposition “went overboard” when it tried to refer the two errant MPs to the Parliamentary Privileges Committee for their breach of privilege bringing shame and dishonour to Parliament and Malaysian women, just a few days before Mother’s Day.

Shahrir said the matter could have been settled within the confines of the Dewan Rakyat if Po Kuan had declared her hurt and asked for an apology.

For Shahrir’s information, Po Kuan was acting completely “within the confines of the Dewan Rakyat” when she invoked Standing Order 26(1)(p) to table a privilege motion to refer the two sexist BN MPs to the committee of privileges.

Also for Shahrir’s information, Po Kuan did declare her hurt and she and other DAP MPs had asked for apology from both Mohd Said and Bung Moktar, but both were defiant and recalcitrant, not only refusing to acknowledge their transgressions, but sought to defend and justify their “male chauvinist” behaviour and thereby compounding their offensive conduct towards Po Kuan and Malaysian women.

What is even more deplorable, all the BN MPs in the Chambers thumped their table in glee and celebration when Po Kuan’s motion was rejected by the Speaker — demonstrating that they were in full support and solidarity with the actions of the two sexist BN MPs!

Unlike Shahrir, several women leaders like All-Women’s Action Society president Judith Koh-Loh, Women’s Aid Organisation executive director Ivy Josiah, Sisters-in-Islam programme manager Zaitun Kasim and Bar Council chairman Ambiga Sreenivasan spoke sense, truth and justice when they slammed Mohd Said and Bung Moktar for their “male chauvinist” behaviour in the Star report today.

But it is not only the two sexist BN MPs who need re-education about gender sensitivity, Shahrir and the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Nazri Aziz, must also undergo a period of “rehabilitation” which a commentator on my blog had proposed would be proper treatment for the two errant BN MPs.

I am shocked that Nazri had tried to minimize and even trivialize the issue by explaining it away as a “play with words” and “part and parcel of parliamentary debate”.

Let Nazri be reminded that “play with words” and “part and parcel of parliamentary debate” are no good defence whatsoever for defamation or gratuitous insult of an individual, organization or community, or sedition in Parliament, and MPs must be prepared to face the full consequences for such parliamentary breach of privilege whether before the Parliamentary Privileges Committee or the court of law in the case of sedition with regard to entrenched sensitive issues in the Constitution.

I cannot but wonder whether Shahir and Nazri really understand what the women leaders are saying in their condemnation of the crude, vulgar, sexist and offensive conduct of the two BN MPs, for instance:

  • Judith Koh-Loh’s statement that “The fact that the august body allowed a ‘joke’ to be made about the function of the female body, without any sanction, marks another low point in the history of parliamentary debates”;
  • Ivy Josiah’s comment: “There is a difference between a joke and a demeaning remark. Because of the poor understanding of sexual harassment, the remarks are dismissed”;
  • Zaitun Kasim’s statement that the remarks by the two sexist BN MPs were “completely offensive”; and
  • Ambiga Sreenevasan’s call that parliamentarians should lead the way in being gender sensitive.

Shahrir and Nazri have shown that apart from Mohd Said and Bung Mohtar, they are also both gender-insensitive and they should apologise for such gender-insensitivity within the next 24 hours, so that the meaning of Mother’s Day tomorrow will not be further desecrated with Shahrir and Nazri’s support and solidarity with Mohd Said and Bung Mohtar in their unacceptable exhibition of “male chauvinism”.

The press have played an exemplary role in exposing the “male chauvinism” and unparliamentary conduct of the two sexist BN MPs in Parliament on Wednesday. This was because none of the DAP MPs had heard their crude, vulgar, sexist and offensive remarks in the din and pandemonium in the Chamber when DAP MPs were highlighting the issue of Parliament leaking after a RM100 million renovation work.

Sin Chew Daily, China Press and Utusan Malaysia deserve commendation for reporting what these two sexist BN MPs had said, as it concerned not only the honour and dignity of Po Kuan, but all Malaysian women.

It is pathetic that BN MPs, especially BN women MPs, do not have a similar sense of justice and righteousness to stand up in Parliament to denounce the two sexist BN MPs and dissociate themselves from their “male chauvinism”.

Instead, one woman BN MP quickly scurried out of the Chambers when Po Kuan stood up on Thursday to demand that the two sexist BN MPs should be referred to the Committee of Privileges.

  1. #1 by Cinapek on Saturday, 12 May 2007 - 10:28 am

    I am a Johorean and at one time was proud of the stand of Shahrir as I thought he was one of the few BN MPs with his head screwed on right. And when he resigned as head of the BN backbenchers club over the Jasin issue, I had the highest respect for him.

    But since then, starting with his inept handling of the ECM Libra case as head of the PAC and subsequently a few other issues where he seems to have gone through a character change, I am not surprised at this latest reaction of his. At this late stage of his political career, these latest stands that he has taken will be a blot on the legacy that he will leave behind.

  2. #2 by raven77 on Saturday, 12 May 2007 - 10:37 am

    Cannot believe the Gerakan and MCA, especially the Health Minister keeping queit. Tak Da Malu ka ? If you have any air muka left, step out of the BN or say something..otherwise don’t preach to us in the future..

  3. #3 by Libra2 on Saturday, 12 May 2007 - 11:59 am

    Sharir knows which side of the bread is buttered. He is a chameleon. Never trust this man.
    Anyway, there is a tendency among Malays to make sexist jokes. It does not matter when such jokes are made. It is made even during official meetings.

  4. #4 by smeagroo on Saturday, 12 May 2007 - 12:49 pm

    By showing the true colors, is there no doubt that the whole bunch of scums frequent pubs and behave like womanisers after wokring hours? I hv that perception. But can u blame me?

  5. #5 by wizzerd on Saturday, 12 May 2007 - 1:08 pm

    There is nothing the women BN MPs can do about. They have to listen and take instructions from the Chief Whip. I suppose that even if they are insulted, they won’t stand up cos they have to get instructions to sokong or bantah…How sad..

  6. #6 by bbtan on Saturday, 12 May 2007 - 1:09 pm

    To Shahril, Nazri, and people like them, “the play with words” is part and parcel of their social life. To them sakat-menyakat with lewd remarks is no big deal. I repeat, its their culture.

  7. #7 by bbtan on Saturday, 12 May 2007 - 1:18 pm

    wizzerd, there was no whip. Ask YB Lim.

  8. #8 by crosstalk on Saturday, 12 May 2007 - 1:59 pm

    I would say ‘birds of the same feather flock together’.This statement may explain why Nazri n Shahrir could not differentiate what is right n what is wrong.They thought of their own kind first before anything else.Definitely the future of this country is bleak with these people serving as leaders of this so called ‘Multiethnic.Multicultural n Multireligious’ nation.(I think they feel it is only most approprate to use the three Multi words in tourist brochures so that more tourists can be lured here).

  9. #9 by Ron on Saturday, 12 May 2007 - 4:31 pm

    This is a parliament with first-world infrastructure (except for the leaking roof) and third-world mentality. It reflects on the country.

  10. #10 by Winston on Saturday, 12 May 2007 - 5:33 pm

    That is the type of people the Malaysian electorate likes to vote into power.
    So, who is paying the price for having these jokers?
    YOU – the voter!

  11. #11 by cklife on Saturday, 12 May 2007 - 6:12 pm

    Male Chauvinist Pigs.
    All of them are… it’s also in many asian’s culture that man are the power..

    Hence, I’m not surprise there are male chauvinist in the parliament.
    I bet they are sexist against their own wifes and daughters. Telling them they can’t work because they are female, telling them their menstruation problem is a burden to society, telling them that their mothers are equivalently dumb as long as they female.

    I hate these male chauvinist. By the way they talk, I can tell they are male chauvinist. They deserve to die. Rot in Hell.

  12. #12 by DiaperHead on Saturday, 12 May 2007 - 6:20 pm

    It is disappointing to read that Shahrir has had to offer an explanation in defense of the indefensible. He has done well by being bi-partisan in his approach to certain issues – obviously at a cost to his popularity among other MPs. But we need more MPs government or Opposition to speak out their minds on matters that are not partisan.

    There is a wrong and there is a right. Not everything depends on your political affiliations.

  13. #13 by Tom Peters on Saturday, 12 May 2007 - 6:23 pm

    Shahir is predictable, because the main argument for ‘disagreement’ among Government MPs is ‘solidarity’, but what he does not realize is that the ‘Po Kuan’ issue isn’t a partisan thing. It’s personal, and no amount of spin will tell us otherwise.

    Shahir, seasoned as he is and with his reputation now at stake, should realize that it is possible to disagree on a non-partisan issue, which happens to be close to the peoples’ heart, even if it means risking the whip.

    Take a cue from Sothinathan who, sometime ago and quite bravely, addressed a distinct non-partisan issue and note, despite the whip, his reputation is intact.

  14. #14 by Tom Peters on Saturday, 12 May 2007 - 6:51 pm

    You know Kit Siang, I lost a bit of sleep over Po Kuan. Strangely, I feel better now. Read her chirpy blog and know she’s fine; and I’m glad she showed up these fellows sooner rather than later. I thought the ‘Karpal’ comment would have finished them off in June last year. I believe they have finally met their ‘waterloo’ in this fine lady.

  15. #15 by toyolbuster on Saturday, 12 May 2007 - 8:15 pm

    I used to believe that Shahrir could be the next Mr Integrity after the demise of THE Mr Integrity who passed away some months ago. But it wasn’t to be, now that we are seeing his true color, which is almost black. What a let down this guy is.

  16. #16 by toyolbuster on Saturday, 12 May 2007 - 8:26 pm

    What a let down this Shahrir guy is. I can expect him to finally kowtow to his PM and play along like a dog cos this guy is desperately trying to get up there, but to come to the defense of this close-one-eye MCP, who himself is no better than a pariah dog, he must be so damn desperate.

  17. #17 by undergrad2 on Saturday, 12 May 2007 - 8:36 pm

    Tom Peters,

    I know Shahrir and he is more rational than the rest of the flock. There is some truth in what he said i.e. this is getting a little of hand and blown out of proportion. This is not to say that the issue of women’s rights is not important. It is.

    The issue of women’s rights something that women of whatever political affiliations, ethnicity and religion can easily identify with while important is not much of a vote-getter. UMNO Wanita, for example, or the leadership of Sisters-in-Islam and other women organizations, are not about to jump ship just because their husbands are ‘male chauvinists pigs’ or leaders within their party’s Youth Wing or their senior leaders have more than one wife (seen as a form of spousal abuse in some countries).

    Let’s face there are more important issues. It will unite the country under the banner of women’s rights and stop the abuse. But what does that translate to – more votes??

    When DAP moved a motion in Parliament which was then rejected for technical reasons at best, with a lot shouting and screaming it should have ended there. Point taken.

    There is no dearth of issues for the Opposition to work on – those that will win votes at the elections. Don’t you think so?

  18. #18 by toyolbuster on Saturday, 12 May 2007 - 9:03 pm

    First, they called women liars, now, instead of worrying about the country’s sickly affairs, which I’m sure they have no f*#@ing idea how to go about handling them, instead, they waste precious parliamentary time poking fun at the womens’ menses. Such childish MCP monkeys should be locked up in the zoo where they belong. Let real parliamentarians debate on the real issues, instead of monkeys performing circus acts.

  19. #19 by Boneka on Saturday, 12 May 2007 - 9:47 pm

    When I viewed the video I was digusted at the glee and gusto shown by ‘Kinabatangan’ and ‘Jasin’ when implying that their mothers, sisters, wives and daughters do not have their periods. I feel sorry for their female family members to see and hear their son/husband/father/brother speak of them (the female members) such. Yes “SHAME! SHAME! SHAME!”

  20. #20 by toyolbuster on Saturday, 12 May 2007 - 10:09 pm

    Dear Undergrad2,

    Insulting Women’s pride and privacy in Parliament is NOT “getting a little out of hand and blown out of proportion”. Its not just about making a big issue out of it but to raise a BIG concern about the calibre of the MCP MPs. Yes you are right, they should be debating about more pressing issues, like Semi Value and his 22m claim for PutraJaya, our biggest, newest and most sick courthouse in the world, MITI building, MRR2, and God knows what else. But to pass childish remarks about women’s menses in Parliament, this is a serious concern. When this issue gets into the headlines of the worlds’ media, which I’m sure it already has, not only will it embarrass us Malaysians, but the world may look at us as perverted MCPs. Great promotion for VMY2007

    I used to believe that Shahrir could well qualify to be the next Mr Integrity after the passing of our great and beloved and dearly missed Tan Sri Ahmad Noordin Zakaria about a year ago. But how wrong I was. I too, was a keen admirer of Shahrir and I did believe that he could be a damn good leader for Malaysia. But after his unwise and inexcusable decision to come to the defense of this close-one-eye MCP MP, I just threw my respect for Shahrir out of the window and into the hole.

    To all Mothers and Mothers to be, you have my strongest respect and I take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy Mothers Day.

  21. #21 by Tai Lo Chin on Saturday, 12 May 2007 - 10:22 pm

    “Public Accounts Committee Chairman and Barisan Nasional (BN) MP for Johor Baru, Datuk Shahrir Samad is losing his critical faculty of distinguishing between right and wrong”.

    Shahrir merely said the matter could have been settled within the confines of the Dewan Rakyat if Batu Gajah MP Fong Po Kuan had declared her hurt and asked for an apology.

    It is not that Shahrir thought that the remarks were OK in the sense that he had lost faculty to distingusih right from wrong.

    Don’t mistake that he was talking about rightness or wrongness of such unparliamentary remarks.

    If Shahrir had thought what BN MPs, Datuk Mohd Said Yusof (Jasin) and Datuk Bung Moktar Radin (Kinabatangan) said was alright, he would not have suggested an apology to MP Fong Po Kuan would suffice. he would have said there was nothing to apologise.

    He was just addressing the proportion of punishment and questioning whether an apology would not suffice for the duo clowns instead of having them referred to the Committee for Privileges for punishment.

    It is his opinion. Isn’t he entitled without being condemned and equated with Kinabatangan’ and Jasin members?

    It is however a loaded one.

    Implicit in his statement is the hint that the Opposition is blowing up the issue out of proportion in relation to the mischief and gravity of the offence for political agenda against the BN – to whip up women voters support. They form 50% of the electorate for the next general election.

  22. #22 by Tai Lo Chin on Saturday, 12 May 2007 - 10:35 pm

    What is being played out is the thrust and parry of a political game – 3 stages.

    First Opposition goes for the jugular. It highlights leaks in new buildings. It is a reflection of BN’s politicians and cronies being awarded government contracts and not douing a good job. It is because government contracts are the money conduit and life line supporting BN’s maintenance of power and getting re-elected again and again in Machap, Ijok etc

    Second, BN’s lackeys from Kinabatangan and Jasin do the “dirty work” to bring out the other typem of leaking – “Batu Gajah pun bocor tiap-tiap bulan pun bocor juga”. They knew this would create a big row on sexist remarks etc that would divert attention from BN’s main achilles heel – the abuse of government contracts and corruption. They succeeded to a large extent as the issue is escalated by calls to refer them to Committee of Privilges, the original leaking of Parliament and the implications behind it being for the moment forgotten and redirected from central focus.

    Third stage is where Opposition escalates this issue and tries to galvanise support from women groups which are bound to champion this subject. This is because 50% of voters are women.

  23. #23 by dawsheng on Saturday, 12 May 2007 - 11:28 pm

    What Sharir said is not important as this Johor Bahru MP is practically useless. For the fact that he has spoken on the issue and added insult to injury only seems to serve one purpose. The generation election is near, so he got to align himself with UMNO, now his two feet on their side again. Abdullah might drop this clown as he has earned disfavour among UMNO MPs when he supported Opposition’s motion in parliament sometime back. Sharir is a man without conviction, he is like the rest in BN who is obsessed with power and will do anything to hold on to it, including being hypocrite. This man serves only himself, why bother to take notice of his unworthy remarks. Let him sink to political oblivion as he deserves nothing more than being a toilet cleaner, as this is what his IQ suggest by uttering those nonsense.

  24. #24 by undergrad2 on Sunday, 13 May 2007 - 12:22 am

    “Implicit in his statement is the hint that the Opposition is blowing up the issue out of proportion in relation to the mischief and gravity of the offence for political agenda against the BN – to whip up women voters support. They form 50% of the electorate for the next general election.” Tai Lo Chin

    The Opposition is certainly using it as an opportunity to rally popular support to its struggle. Nothing wrong with that.

    But its struggle for women’s rights?? To gain support from among its women supporters? Sure.

    As for the 50% of the electorate being female, that is something else. I don’t see them come charging in to vote for the DAP because it stands for women’s rights! Already the turnout from among registered voters who are female tends to be lower. It is the same all over the world because they do not show the same passion men have in politics. Most are home makers. Political consciousness within this sub-group is not high enough in developing countries like Malaysia for a political party to spend huge sums of its campaign funds.

    Most of them are not going to vote on equal rights for women. Indeed they do not understand the fuss since they are home makers playing a secondary role in the family unit. It is their husbands who decide in most cases who and which political party their wives should vote.

    So which group or sub-groups socio-economic etc among the country’s electorate is the DAP’s effort directed at with all the marches planned? Whatever the group or groups may be, in terms of votes it could hope to get, it will not be worth the time and money spent.

  25. #25 by Tom Peters on Sunday, 13 May 2007 - 12:25 am

    Undergrad2, I have always learned from your comments and I do appreciate your angle on Shahrir, but this issue is hardly in the category of ‘womens’ rights’ nor is it partisan or political, period.

    You do not have to be female to feel what our sister felt when these fellows, goaded by their cheering pack savaged her, and savaged her again when they cheered the rejection of the motion.

    Lo Chin, your analysis is interesting and even plausible, save for the role of these fellows. You seem to suggest that they were conscious of their role as detractors and sacrificial lambs, but history seems to suggest anything but conscious actions on their part, unless, off course, they were ‘handled’. That scenario could make sense but then, even these fellows should shudder at the thought of being sacrificed at the public altar of the ‘chauvinistic deviant’.

  26. #26 by Tai Lo Chin on Sunday, 13 May 2007 - 1:10 am

    I am just flattering Kinabatangan and Jasin members. It is second nature for them to trivialise, mock and disrupt what Opposition says (with ribald jokes with sexual innuendoes) especially when the latter says the right things about BN of which there can be no rational rebuttal. That however does not detract what I said about opportunities seized by both sides, as the situation evolved, to advance their respective agendas.

  27. #27 by Tai Lo Chin on Sunday, 13 May 2007 - 1:16 am

    They know the mindset of the majority of male BN MPs in Deawn Rakyat. They know whatever jokes they make in this respect about women (for so long as the women are in Opposition camp) will be cheered on and not looked as a parliamentary offence. About them shuddering to be labelled “chauvinistic deviant”, there is no such thing. They have been saying these kinds of things before. They absolutely revel in their ‘wit’ in this department.

  28. #28 by pwcheng on Sunday, 13 May 2007 - 1:38 am

    I hope you guys will give Shahrir a chance and benefit of the doubt. He obviously had taken heed of what happen during the last episode and just determined to be within the folds of Barisan so that he can continue to serve the people.
    On the hindsight, when he said “went overboard , I agree that is a bad statement. Instead he should have used the word over-react because that can mean ” why react to the statement of fools” which is exactly what they have played the DAP into their arena. Why bother what a fool says because we will be a greater fool if we react to them.

  29. #29 by mob1900 on Sunday, 13 May 2007 - 5:01 am

    1st: Opposition highlighted parliament structure leaks after 100 million renovations last year.
    2nd: Ruling coalition MPs acknowledged the issue(and demand 22million just for inspection!) and went on to ‘Shoot the Mesenger’ by degrading women in general.
    3rd: Opposition’s attempt to bring the two for disciplinary action were rejected.
    4th: Ruling coalition women MPs ‘buat tak tahu’ and staved off from making a stand(until recently, after 4 days of ‘elegent silence’, find out who the 2 women MPs are)
    5th: El Balachi said the remarks are ‘not offensive’.
    6th: If it’s not ‘offensive’ why would papers highlighted this ‘unoffensive’ remarks?
    7th: Shahrir went on and said it ‘went Overboard’.
    8th: If it’s a non-issue why would Shahrir have anything to say on this?

    Why would any of the ruling coalition MPs have anything to say if it’s ‘not offensive’ or ‘Opposition went overboard’?

    Answer: Majority finds it OFFENSIVE TO DEGRADE WOMEN and are asking their representatives why are they not making a stand on it.
    It is not ‘blown out of proportion’, admit it, the ruling coalition MPs could NEVER ADMIT it when they are wrong. Do you think this issue would have ‘went overboard’ if the two errant MPs APOLOGISE in the first place, instead of demanding it from them?

    It applies both ways, you have seen the video, IF any Opposition, be it Pas, DAP, Keadilan etc were to make the same mistake, do you think they will be at Parliament next week? 6 months suspension will be metted out without a fuss or appeal.

    Call a Spade a spade, just don’t call it a ‘Jest’ or ‘joke’.

  30. #30 by mob1900 on Sunday, 13 May 2007 - 5:06 am

    Fact 9: There are still no apologies offered and as BN MPs the whole coalition is responsible if they continue to deny this wrong.

  31. #31 by ihavesomethingtosay on Sunday, 13 May 2007 - 5:14 am

    Jsut read “THE CHINA PRESS” on the front cover, MP, refuseses to apologise for monkey remarks, and you guess it right, SAID’s ugly face was there, in the news, blah blah blah, complains by women MP’s, but reported in the China press that Said refuses apology on the grounds that his words was wrongfully interpreted…….

    I have a question for this joker, if, closing an eye to KASTAM and this recent fiasco being wrongly interpreted, shouldn’t you resign gracefully or just drop dead as you shown inability to make the rakyat understand you. you are saying that you are unable to convey the necessary communication of the rakyat to the parliament, therefore you cannot perform as an MP.

    just drop dead so that the people of JASIN may benefit from a buy election.

    go die!

  32. #32 by tzarina on Sunday, 13 May 2007 - 5:53 am

    When Said, Shahir and Bung wish their mother Happy Mother’s Day, their mothers should slap them hard to teach them to respect women.

  33. #33 by lupus on Sunday, 13 May 2007 - 7:06 am

    I can see it now……Said, Shahir and Bung mother’s day – “Happy Mother’s Day!!! now go get me some food ***** !!!! and I want my kopi-o hot!!!! Wife, shut the kids up and get me my papers!!!! Hurry up – I have a country to help run – I have a meeting at the golf club in 2 hours!!!!”

    On the other hand – today is May 13th – We should remember all that have lost their lives on this black day in Malaysian history.

  34. #34 by rm 0.02 on Sunday, 13 May 2007 - 10:39 am

    i guess the gloves are off then…since they allowed a precedent such as this, the opposition should give them a taste of their own medicine!!

    and if they complain, you can just say ‘it’s a play on words’ and ‘part and parcel of parliamentary debate’

    we all know what a joke the parliament is…

  35. #35 by DiaperHead on Monday, 14 May 2007 - 4:05 am

    If women are not meant to be ‘different’ than men (‘inferior’ as some would say), why did God create Eve as an afterthought – and almost as a ‘toy’ for Adam to play with since he was lonely? Read Genesis. Don’t read me.

    Why was Eve created not from earth as Adam was? Why was she created from Adam’s rib?? Why was she created second – and not together?

  36. #36 by Jimm on Monday, 14 May 2007 - 9:56 am

    SS’s family interest and other ‘hidden’ portfolio are at risk here. Remember how ‘they’ put up a national show case on AI to knock him off.
    Don’t feel bad about his remarks and standing. He have to listen and obey the rules that newly drafted by ‘them’

  37. #37 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Monday, 14 May 2007 - 9:23 pm

    Shahrir is afer all birds of a feather and from the same flock!

    Shahrir….and I was hoping you might be a swan but, ah, you are just the same ugly duckling!

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