KUALA LUMPUR, July 22 — Batu Kawan MP Kasthuriraani Patto has urged Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan @ Harun to amend the Parliamentary Standing Orders for harsher penalties against lawmakers who utter racist, sexist and insulting remarks in the Lower House.
In a letter to Azhar today, the DAP lawmaker called for additional amendments to be made on Standing Order 36 where those who make such unparliamentary statements be automatically referred to the Rights and Privileges Committee.
She also said that those found guilty by the Rights and Privileges Committee should be fined for not less than RM500.
Kasthuriraani referred to an incident on July 13 when Baling MP Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim had used the Malay word gelap (dark) and asked the Batu Kawan MP to put on some face powder.
On July 14, Azhar instructed Abdul Azeez to retract his statement and to apologise to Kasthuriraani.
However, she had told the Lower House that this was not the first incident and accused Abdul Azeez of having made racist and sexist remarks in the past and getting off with only a light slap on the wrist.
Today, the Batu Kawan MP had also called upon the newly minted Speaker to lead the amendment, seeing that he chairs the Standing Order Committee and also the Rights and Privileges Committee.
“Even though I can make the proposal under Standing Order 78(2) to be raised to the Standing Order Committee, I think it will be more effective if this is led by the Speaker himself, seeing that he chairs both the Standing Order Committee and the Rights and Privileges Committee.
“If the Speaker uses the powers under Standing Order 83(5) to call for a meeting of the Standing Order Committee, we can make this a reality in a short period of time, and I am willing to be called to give my statement,” said Kasthuriraani.