KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 2 — Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Azhar Azizan Harun today upheld his deputy’s ruling on Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman’s misogynist remarks made in Parliament on July 20.
Addressing Parliament at the end of today’s proceedings, Azhar acknowledged that there was a miscommunication with his deputy Datuk Rashid Hasnon and that he was not aware of the latter’s decision to expel the Pasir Salak MP from Parliament that day.
He then said that Tajuddin should not have been present for the vote to revoke the decision made by MPs on March 23 earlier this year to cancel the enforcement of sub-section 4(5) of the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) and amend the results using Standing Order 100.
“The incident where Pasir Salak was ordered to leave the House by the deputy Speaker happened at about 12.30pm on July 20, 2022. I was actually not informed by the deputy Speaker and the secretariat with regards to the decision to expel Pasir Salak for two days.
“To tell you the truth, I was not informed of his expulsion, and I was not aware of it. If I knew of the expulsion, I would have not allowed him to enter the House to vote.
“With that, I am using Standing Order 100 to amend the results of the vote put forward by the Home Ministry on July 20, from 105 agreeing to 104, and absent from 32 to 33,” he said.
Tajuddin then stood up to address Azhar and insisted that he was not ordered to leave the House by Rashid, was not barred for two days, and that his vote should count.
“Actually, this is the problem when we are too nice. Listen to me first. I was not ordered out. I walked out voluntarily because I did not want to cause a ruckus.
“Secondly, I had other matters to attend to outside. That is why I left Parliament. But it was interpreted as I was ordered to leave. That’s not true at all!
“But when the deputy Speaker, the following day, or two days after that, said that he had ordered me to leave, and that I was automatically barred for two days, I refused to argue with him. I didn’t want to waste time, so whatever he said, I just kept quiet.
“Honestly, as God is my witness. I am a Muslim. I did not want to protest because I thought it was a waste of time. So, I would like to say here that I was not ordered to leave parliamentary proceedings and I was not barred for two days. Thus, my vote on that day should count. That’s all I have to say,” he said in Parliament.
To this, Azhar said that he had watched a replay of the incident via YouTube and admitted that the whole situation was a “madhouse”.
He then added that he did not blame Tajuddin if he did not hear the order from Rashid.
This drew ire from the Opposition in Parliament, with Hannah Yeoh (PH-Segambut) saying that for the first time ever, she agreed with the Pasir Salak MP, and accused Rashid of misleading the House.
“For the first time, I’m agreeing with Pasir Salak, because he said he did not hear the deputy Speaker asking him to leave. None of us here heard the deputy say so.
“After that, the deputy Speaker called a few of us out asking us, as witnesses, did Pasir Salak say those words, and we testified to it.
“So the conduct of the deputy Speaker is very problematic here. I think that order, he made it up. I really feel that because none of us heard him ordering Pasir Salak out,” she said.
Teo Nie Ching (PH-Kulai) then tried to chime in, but Azhar cut her short, which drew even more shouting from the Opposition side in Parliament.
She could be heard shouting to Azhar asking him to be fair, to which Azhar said he had been more than fair in his ruling, and that if she was not satisfied, to file a review.
Teo then accused the Speaker of protecting his deputy, which he denied.
“I have never protected him. I am being fair. I admit my mistake. We admit our mistakes. Please sit, thank you,” he told Teo.
He then threatened to expel Teo from Parliament for constantly challenging his ruling, to which Teo said that it was unfair.
Khalid Abdul Samad (PH-Shah Alam) then stood up and jokingly asked Azhar if it was his ruling or Tajuddin’s ruling that stood, to which Azhar said that it was his ruling that stood.
Teo then stood up once again to ask whether it was fair the deputy’s ruling was legitimate on the grounds that Pasir Salak was not aware of it, and challenged the Speaker to answer.
The Speaker then used his gavel to call for order and said that he is not here to answer her question, ending the conversation on the topic.
On July 20, Tajuddin was warned by Rashid over his remarks on DAP women — who he claimed behaved indecently and were foul-mouthed.
Tajuddin had apparently taken issue with Teo’s statement, accusing him, together with Baling MP Datuk Seri Azeez Abdul Rahim and Kinabatangan MP Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin, of sexist remarks against women MPs.
On July 26, Kasthuri Patto (PH-Batu Kawan) was ejected from Dewan Rakyat after she repeatedly challenged Rashid over his ruling on Tajuddin’s remarks.
Kasthuri earlier asked about her letter to the Speaker regarding an alleged sexist remark Tajuddin said off-microphone when debating the Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill on July 20, and Rashid said today that he already took action.
In the letter, Kasthuri urged Tajuddin to apologise and withdraw his “obscene words”.
“My ruling is, number one is when he (Tajuddin) remarked that DAP women (are rude and indecent), I already gave a warning.
“Second, regarding the remark, I will only mention the word with the letter P, there is no mention in the Hansard. I have consulted with the legal adviser. When I ordered Pasir Salak (Tajuddin) to get out, Pasir Salak automatically gets two days’ (suspension) including the day of the incident. This is my ruling,” he told the Dewan Rakyat.
Teo disputed this today by showing the Hansard from the day, which showed that Tajuddin was present in the Dewan after being ejected during the morning session.
She then accused Rashid of misleading Parliament, and called for Azhar to investigate his deputy’s decision and come up with a new ruling on the matter.