Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Women MPs slam Nazri for derogatory remarks

Disgruntled women opposition MPs have called on all Malaysian women to blacklist MPs who use phrases which are sexists and derogatory, saying these people “have no right to represent the people much less women”.

In a joint statement, Pas Titiwangsa MP Dr Lo’Lo Mohd Ghazali said Pakatan Rakyat women MPs were of the opinion that chauvinistic members of parliament should not stand for elections

“Elected representatives should be free from sexist practices and this should be a KPI in selecting future candidates for Parliament. Malaysian women won’t choose sexists candidates in the next election,” she said.

They were responding to several derogatory words such as “anak jantan” and “anak betina” used by Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Aziz in Parliament.

According to the PR MPs, the practice of using sexism gives the impression that one gender is inferior to the other.

It also means gender discrimination and disregard for the stature and dignity of a gender, be it men or women, as enshrined in the Federal Constitution.

“We object to the use of words such as ‘anak jantan’ and ‘anak betina’, which is totally unnecessary because these phrases are often associated with animals and derogatory to women,” she said.

She said even if some viewed the issue as trivial, it was a matter of grave concern to the women MPs who felt that the issue, if left unchecked would deteriorate.

A poor reflection

Past parliamentary sessions have seen a wide range of similar remarks exchanged by male MPs, during debates, but this is the first time that a cohesive effort to curb the wanton use of gender discriminating phrases has been put in motion.

Meanwhile, Rantau Panjang MP Siti Zailah said Nazri’s use of such offensive phrases was a poor reflection of the government’s “Budi Bahasa Budaya Kita” campaign touted by the various ministries.

“It clearly shows that the government’s Budi Bahasa Budaya Kita campaign is a sham and millions of ringgit wasted on a campaign when its own minister is callous and rude even in this honourable hall,” she said.

Ampang MP Zuraida Kamaruddin summed it up when she said it is disappointing to note that the BN MPs do not seem to understand the concept of gender equality and phrases that smack of sexism.

"It reflects the government’s weakness when its male MPs fail to understand the concept. If they can’t understand a concept as simple as this, how can the rakyat, particularly women, hinge their hopes on them?” she said.

courtesy of FMT

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