The Anti-Sexual Harassment Advocacy Group, comprising the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality, Engender and Young Women Making Change, stand in full support of Batu Kawan MP Kasthuri Patto, who was ejected from Parliament on 26 July by Deputy Speaker Rashid Hasnon.
The Batu Kawan MP was removed from Parliament for refusing to accept his ruling on Tajuddin Rahman’s behaviour.
The Deputy Speaker has used the excuse that the profanity allegedly uttered by Tajuddin during the debate on the Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill last week was not recorded in the Hansard – presumably because the microphone was switched off. Yet, it has been reported that multiple MPs claim to have heard him do so.
We are deeply disappointed that such a move comes in the wake of the passing of the Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill 2021 less than a week ago. In our view, Tajuddin’s alleged actions have created an intimidating, offensive and hostile environment, especially for women MPs, who have been subjected time and again to such behaviour.
To fail to call such behaviour to a proper account is to condone it. We agree with Kasthuri that the Deputy Speaker’s decision sets a grave precedent for similar conduct to be excused in future.
At the very least, does this not warrant a deeper investigation into the matter, rather than conveniently shutting down those who have spoken up against it?
We call for an immediate investigation to be launched into the matter, and should the facts be substantiated, for proper disciplinary actions to be taken against Tajuddin and any other MPs who behave that way for that matter.
The Dewan Rakyat [House of Representatives] must take a clear and unequivocal stand on intimidating behaviour against women MPs. Stop excusing it.
Endorsed by the following member organisations of the Anti-Sexual Harassment Advocacy Group:
- Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG), specifically:
- Women’s Centre for Change (WCC)
- All Women’s Action Society (Awam)
- Association of Women Lawyers (AWL)
- Family Frontiers
- Justice for Sisters
- Kryss Network
- Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor
- Sabah Women’s Action-Resource Group (Sawo)
- Sarawak Women for Women Society
- Sisters in Islam (SIS)
- Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO)
- Young Women Making Change