Bahasa tidak sopan, bersifat cauvinis tiada tempat di Dewan Rakyat (Malay/English)

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[ENGLISH VERSION BELOW] Kami, selaku kumpulan masyarakat madani yang menandatangani kenyataan ini, melihat dengan bimbang layanan dialami sebilangan ahli Parlimen wanita kalangan pembangkang oleh Yang di-Pertua Dewan Rakyat Azhar Harun ketika pengakhiran sidang khas Dewan Rakyat baru-baru ini.

Ahli Parlimen berkenaan ialah Hannah Yeoh, Kasthuri Patto dan Teo Nie Ching. Pertelingkahan berlaku ketika ahli Parlimen wanita tersebut mendesak untuk meyakinkan Yang di-Pertua supaya menjemput pihak kerajaan memanjangkan tempoh persidangan agar Menteri Sains, Teknologi dan Inovasi Khairy Jamaluddin dapat meneruskan maklum balasnya terhadap pelbagai persoalan penting yang dikemukakan oleh ahli-ahli Parlimen daripada kedua-duanya belah pihak mengenai program imunisasi Covid kebangsaan.

Permintaan ahli Parlimen wanita tersebutnya tiada beza dengan permintaan sama oleh ahli Parlimen lain pada keadaan yang biasa dilakukan di mana-mana sistem Parlimen sekalipun. Ianya juga adalah kebiasaan bagi Speaker-speaker dalam sebuah badan perundangan untuk mempertimbangkan permintaan tersebut jika mereka memiliki kuasa untuk melakukannya, dan jika mereka tidak memiliki kuasa untuk melanjutkan waktu, maka mereka menjemput pihak kerajaan untuk mengemukakan sebuah usul melanjutkan persidangan bagi tempoh yang tertentu sekiranya mereka berkeinginan untuk melakukannya.

Namun Yang di-Pertua – atas alasan hanya dirinya lebih tahu – menolak untuk mempertimbang permintaan ahli-ahli Parlimen wanita tersebut, yang mana bukanlah supaya Yang di-Pertua sendiri melanjutkan tempoh persidangan tersebut, akan tetapi supaya beliau menjemput pihak kerajaan bagi melakukannya.

Namun, beliau berulang kali merespon Ahli-ahli Parlimen wanita tersebut dengan “Tolong diam boleh tak” dan “Tolong diam sekejap”, diikuti dengan berulang-ulang kali mematikan mikrofon. Bagi ramai orang yang memerhatikan siaran langsung prosiding tersebut, bahasa dan nadanya bukan sahaja tidak sesuai dan tidak sepenuhnya seimbang, malah memberikan gambaran jelas perlakuan yang bersifat cauvinis dan bentuk diskriminasi berasaskan gender.

Walaupun ahli-ahli Parlimen lain bangun mencelah memberikan sokongan mereka ke atas permintaan ahli-ahli Parlimen wanita ini, namun ahli-ahli Parlimen wanita inilah yang berada di barisan hadapan.

Selanjutnya, terdapat banyak keadaan semasa prosiding di dalam Dewan Rakyat dalam hari sebelumnnya yang mana ahli Parlimen lelaki daripada kedua-dua belah pihak yang telah menggunakan bahasa kasar dan tidak sesuai antara satu sama lain, dan kadang-kadang juga terhadap pegawai pemutus Dewan Rakyat sendiri. Walaubagaimanapun, tidak ada seorang pun kalangan ahli-ahli Parlimen lelaki tersebut yang mana Yang di-Pertua menggunakan perkataan dan nada sama seperti dilakukannya terhadap ahli-ahli Parlimen wanita pada petang itu.

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Kami berharap apa yang diperhatikan daripada kaca TV di seluruh negara akan tingkah laku Yang di-Pertua terhadap ahli-ahli Parlimen wanita petang itu, mungkin diperbesarkan kerana jarak. Sekiranya tidak, kami menawarkan nasihat seperti berikut terus kepada semua ahli Parlimen, terutamanya Yeoh, Patto dan Teo:

  • Sentiasa ingat bahawa di bawah Perkara 57(1A)(b) Perlembagaan Persekutuan, Yang di-Pertua dianggap sebagai salah seorang anggota Dewan berdasarkan jawatannya (kecuali untuk tujuan tertentu yang tidak terpakai di sini)
  • Oleh itu, adalah sepenuhnya menjadi hak mereka sebagai anggota Dewan untuk memastikan bahawa Yang di-Pertua patuh kepada peraturan dan etika yang sama dipakai ke atas mana-mana Ahli Parlimen lain
  • Atas dasar tersebut, para ahli Parlimen boleh mengemukakan usul terhadap Yang di-Pertua yang melanggar etika Dewan Rakyat, misalnya Peraturan Mesyuarat 36(4), meminta supaya beliau menarik balik dan meminta maaf atas komen-komennya serta menjadikan komen-komen tersebut dipadam di dalam Dewan Rakyat
  • Sekiranya situasi serupa terjadi pada masa depan, ahli Parlimen boleh terus membawa Perkara 57(1A)(b) dan Peraturan Mesyuarat 36(4) untuk perhatian Yang di-Pertua ketika sesi perbahasan Dewan Rakyat, agar beliau dapat merubah tingkah lakunya dengan sewajarnya

Diskriminasi berasaskan gender wujud dan ianya adalah endemik. Adalah menjadi kewajiban moral bersama kita untuk membetulkannya ketikamana ianya terjadi, menyokong mereka yang menjadi target dan mendesak segala tindakan terhadapnya, sama ada ia berlaku di sekolah, pejabat atau dewan-dewan Parlimen.

Kenyataan ini adalah inisiatif Komuniti Perintis untuk Parlimen Profesional, sebuah jaringan individu yang aktif dalam kumpulan masyarakat madani, badan pemikir dan akademia yang memperjuangkan sebuah Parlimen yang profesional bagi mewujudkan persaingan dasar yang sihat antara pelbagai parti.

Ditandatangani oleh:

  • Gabungan Pilihan Raya Bersih dan Adil (Bersih 2.0)
  • Engage
  • Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas)
  • Bait Al-Amanah
  • Persatuan Pengundi Muda (Undi18)

English version

Disrespectful and chauvinistic language has no place in Dewan Rakyat

We, the undersigned civil society groups, view with alarm the treatment to which certain female MPs in the Opposition were subjected by the Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat, Azhar Harun, during the closing hours of the  special sitting of the House recently.

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The MPs concerned were Hannah Yeoh, Kasthuri Patto and Teo Nie Ching. The altercation occurred when these female MPs led the push to convince the Speaker to invite the government to extend the sitting hours, so that Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin could continue his response to the many important questions raised by MPs from both sides of the aisle regarding the national Covid immunisation programme.

The request by the female MPs was entirely in keeping with similar requests made by MPs in similar circumstances in the usual course of proceedings in any parliamentary system. It is also entirely within the norm for speakers of a legislative body to consider such requests if they have the power to do so, and if they do not have the power to extend time, to invite the government bench to bring a motion to extend the sitting for a stated time if they are minded to do so.

However, the Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat – for reasons best known to himself – refused to even acknowledge that the request by the female MPs was not for him to extend the sitting hours, but for him to invite the government bench to do so.

Instead, he responded repeatedly to these female MPs to “Tolong diam boleh tak” and “Tolong diam sekejap”, followed by repeatedly turning off the microphones.

For many who were observing the live cast of those proceedings, both his language and tone were not only simply inappropriate, not only entirely out of proportion but they also gave a clear impression of chauvinistic or gender-based discriminatory behaviour.

While other MPs stood up to interject their support for the female MPs’ request, these female MPs were the ones at the forefront.

Further, there were many moments during the proceedings in the House over the previous three days when male MPs from both sides of the aisle used rude and inappropriate language against each other as well as, on occasion, the presiding officer in the House. Yet to none of these male MPs did the Speaker adopt such words and tone as he did with the female MPs that evening.

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We hope that what was observed from monitors and TV screens across the country of the Speaker’s behaviour towards these female MPs that evening was magnified by the distance. In the event it was not, we offer the following advice directly to all MPs, particularly Yeoh, Patto and Teo:

  • Always bear in mind that under Article 57(1A)(b) of the Federal Constitution, the Speaker is considered a member of the House by virtue of his office (save for certain purposes which are not applicable here)
  • Therefore, it is entirely within their rights as members of the House to subject him to the same rules of conduct and ethics to which any other MP of the House is subject.
  • On that basis, the MPs may bring a motion against the Speaker to cite him for breaching the rules of the House, for example Standing Order 36(4), ask him to withdraw and apologise for his comments and have those comments struck from the record of the House
  • Should a similar situation occur in the future, MPs could bring Article 57(1A)(b) and Order 36(4) immediately to the Speaker’s attention on the floor of the House, in order that he may recalibrate his behaviour accordingly.

Gender-based discrimination is present and it is endemic. It is our collective moral obligation to call it out when it happens, support those targeted and push for consequences, whether it happens in schools, workplace or the halls of Parliament.

This statement is initiated by the Seed Community for a Professional Parliament, a network of individuals active in civil society organisations, think tanks and academia working towards a professional Parliament that facilitates healthy policy competition between parties.

Signed by:

  • Gabungan Pilihan Raya Bersih dan Adil (Bersih 2.0)
  • Engage
  • Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas)
  • Bait Al-Amanah
  • Persatuan Pengundi Muda (Undi18)
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