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KUALA LUMPUR, July 14 — New Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun ordered Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim (BN – Baling) to apologise to Kasthuriraani Patto (PH – Batu Kawan) for offensive remarks he directed at her yesterday.
The former Election Commissions chief said Abdul Azeez’s description of the ethnic Indian lawmaker as gelap (dark) and recommendation that she pakai bedak (use facial powder) were unparliamentary and offensive.
“After going through the Hansard, I have made the decision that the words spoken are offensive. I instruct Baling to apologise and to retract that statement,” said Azhar, who is also known as Art.
Azeez aimed the remarks at Kasthuriraani yesterday and triggered an uproar in the Lower House.
Opposition lawmakers accused Abdul Azeez of being “racist” and “sexist” for his words.
After the Speaker’s orders today, Abdul Azeez said he will comply but wished to explain himself first.
“I had no intention of calling anyone with a racist slur. I was sitting in that same spot for two years. That area is very dark, it usually doesn’t receive any attention from the Speaker.
“When I said dark, I meant the area is dark, it’s not very visible. I think it’s important for netizens to know that I wasn’t calling any person dark because Allah has made me dark too. So, there’s no reason for me to call anyone dark.
“However, I retract my statement and I apologise,” said Abdul Azeez.
Azhar then reminded the federal lawmakers to avoid sexist, racist, offensive and unparliamentary terms.
Kasthuriraani then stood up and thanked Azhar for his decision but pressed him for a harsher penalty against Abdul Azeez.
She accused the backbencher of being a repeated offender when it comes to sexist and racist statements.
However, Azhar dismissed this and said he needed to continue with the day’s proceedings.