KUALA LUMPUR, July 13 — The Opposition was in an uproar during the Dewan Rakyat sitting earlier today after Umno’s Baling MP Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim made a racist remark against DAP’s Batu Kawan MP Kasthuriraani Patto.
Azeez, himself of Indian Muslim descent, made the remark mentioning the dark colour of the ethnic Indian politician.
The remark caused Jelutong MP RSN Rayer to stand up and demand that Azeez retract the remark, which then burst into a shouting match.
“Baling (Azeez) must apologise and retract his remark.
“He must not be allowed to say such things in the House. The Speaker must make a ruling and not allow this (kind of language to be used in the House),” said Rayer as he asked Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun to make a ruling against the remark made by Azeez.
In his defence, Azeez insisted that the remark “gelap tak nampak” or “so dark cannot see” was not directed at Kasthuriraani or any other MPs.
“I did not say that a particular YB is dark, I did not say that she (Kasthuriraani) is dark,” said Azeez.
As Rayer continued to press Azeez to apologise and retract his remark, Azeez instead told those with a dark skin tone to apply powder.
“I am also dark (saya pun gelap). Just put on powder (pakai lah bedak), not a problem (tak ada masalah),” he added.
Kasthuriraani had also demanded the Speaker make a ruling in accordance with Standing Order 36 (4) which states “it shall be out of order for a member of the House to use offensive language or make a sexist remark”.
“He (Azeez) didn’t just say that I am dark, but he also asked me to put on powder,” she said.
She proceeded to urge the women members of the Perikatan Nasional (PN) bloc to take a stand.
“Women of PN, all quiet? You all agree with this? What is your stand?
“(The Baling MP) has insulted all the women here in the House. You have insulted all the women in Baling,” she shouted even as her microphone was muted by the Speaker.
Amid the uproar, Opposition Leader and Port Dickson MP Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim stood up to calm the situation by requesting the Speaker ensure that there would be no more sexist remarks allowed in the House.
“Tuan Speaker, I just want to request that you clarify the situation and not allow any sexist remarks (in the House),” he said.
However, Azhar did not make a ruling on the issue concerning Azeez, implying that he had already apologised and retracted the remark.