Appointment of former Sri Gading MP, Mohamad Aziz, as Speaker for the Johor Assembly

We are shocked to learn that former Member of Parliament for Sri Gading, Datuk Mohamad Aziz, has been appointed as Speaker of the Johor State Assembly.

Mohamad Aziz is one of a select group of politicians who have earned notoriety for their sexist and gender-offensive comments mainly in Parliament, where they claim they have ‘immunity’ for uttering such words. In 2000, Mohd Aziz said in Parliament that it was “unusual for women’s issues to be touched (raised) by men” and then adding, “But women are supposed to be touched by men.”

None of these lawmakers have ever apologised ‘sincerely’ nor shown remorse for their sexist and derogatory remarks, raising the ire of women politicians and women NGOs particularly who have consistently called on voters to punish them by not voting for them.

On numerous occasions when these comments were uttered in Parliament, calls for apologies by the offender by the Opposition bench will be brushed off lightly and other BN MPs will clap and cheer loudly in support of their fellow MPs.

In fact, Minister in the PM’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz had once warned sexist MPs that they could be dropped as election candidates: “If they persist, their future as MPs is at stake. Better to sacrifice them than to lose.”

But as usual, BN MPs rarely get punished for their misdeeds, receiving merely a slap on the wrist as if they were naughty children rather than responsible lawmakers elected by the people and therefore accountable to their voters for their behaviour and principles.

We sincerely and fervently hope that in his new position as Johor Speaker, Mohd Aziz will conduct himself professionally in the Johor State Assembly and refrain from making any more sexist statements, as well as speak out against anyone who makes denigrating remarks against women.

The first sitting of Parliament will start on 26 June 2013. Under The PM’s “transformation programme”, we hope to also see constructive changes in Parliament and urge the Speaker not to tolerate sexist or derogatory remarks from lawmakers. All such actions must be severely reprimanded in order to send a stronger signal to these representatives who are elected by the people.

We also note that the Parliamentary Caucus on Gender Equality which was formed under former PM Badawi’s watch has nothing to show so far, for it hasn’t carried out any gender-sensitivity programmes or training for MPs, nor has it made any strong stands against the insulting lawmakers in the last 12 years.

DAP Wanita calls upon the Prime Minister in his capacity also as the former Women’s Minister to make a stand against the irresponsible, offensive and derogatory remarks made by these lawmakers and punish them accordingly, in order to teach them that sexist attitudes will not be tolerated by not just the women, but all Malaysians.