JAG Statement: “No” To Sexist MPs, “Yes” To More Women Candidates!

The Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) has been monitoring the debates of the Members of Parliament (MPs) for the past few years. We are disturbed that some of the MPs continue to make remarks which discriminate against women, and are sexist. The MPs who make such remarks show that they have a poor grasp of gender issues.

Sexist remarks are not jokes. They are offensive and distasteful. They also demean and devalue women because they insult women and their bodies. Women are viewed as sexual objects. Furthermore, sexist MPs stereotype women as emotional and childish, whose respectability is dependant on their marital status.

When MPs make sexist comments, they discriminate against women because they violate women’s right to be treated with respect and dignity. This breeds a culture that is insulting to women and men. MPs must remember that they are accountable to their women voters.

We have no confidence in MPs who do not respect, but instead, discriminate against women. We urge women as well as men not to vote for them. The sexist MPs include :

1. Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin (BN Kinabatangan)
2. Datuk Mohd Said Yusuf (BN Jasin)
3. Dato’ Paduka Haji Badruddin bin Amiruldin (BN Jerai)
4. Datuk Idris Haron (BN-Tangga Batu)
5. Datuk Mohamed Aziz (BN Sri Gading)
6. Abdul Fatah Harun (PAS Rantau Panjang)
7. Mohd Hayati bin Othman (PAS Pendang)
8. Salahuddin Ayub (PAS Kubang Kerian)
9. Dato Seri S. Samy Velu (BN Sg Siput)

Women Candidates

The Ninth Malaysia Plan aims to put in place at least 30% of women in decision making positions by 2010. So at the general elections, the political parties should:

1. field at least 30% women candidates;
2. allocate seats to these women in “win-able” constituencies; and
3. nominate at least 30% of women into local councils.

This is also in line with the Government’s commitments and obligations when it ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1995 to ‘adopt the measures required for the elimination of such discrimination in all its forms and manifestations’.

By not fielding sexist MPs, and nominating more women to run as candidates in the elections, more women can take leadership roles in the political, economic and social development of Malaysia.

Honey Tan Lay Ean
Executive Director
All Women’s Action Society (AWAM)

for and on behalf of the Joint Action Group on Gender Equality (JAG) comprising:
1. All Women’s Action Society (AWAM)
2. Pusat Janadaya (Empower)
3. Sisters In Islam (SIS)
4. Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO)
5. Women’s Centre for Change, Penang (WCC)
6. Women’s Development Collective (WDC)

8 December 2007
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