Kinabatangan MP Bung Moktar Radin should be consoled by the fact that he is not the only court jester in the august Parliament House. His challenge to tetraplegic Bukit Gelugor MP Karpal Singh to “stand up if you dare” is overshadowed by the idiocy of another infamous Parliamentarian.
Pasir Mas MP Ibrahim Ali asked Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia why Karpal was allowed to ask questions sitting down instead of standing like the other MPs. I believe this is the stupidest question ever asked in the Parliament by an MP in Malaysian history. It is a wonder how such cerebrally-deficient people can get elected to represent the people.
In asking that question, Ibrahim has clearly shown his contempt for disabled people. He is intolerant of people who do things differently from him. His myopic views disqualifies him from becoming an effective people’s representative. Such utterance in the Parliament is an embarrassment to Malaysia especially when we have just become a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Karpal is in a wheelchair because he is paralysed from the neck down. If he could stand, I am sure he would want to. It is no fun sitting on the wheelchair. I know because I have been a wheelchair user for the past 24 years. If Ibrahim does not know what the meaning of paralysis is, he should go look it up in a dictionary. Better still, I challenge Ibrahim to sit on a wheelchair throughout the entire first session of the Parliament up to May 27 to feel how it is like.
I would like to advise our newly elected MPs to see the person and not the disability or the wheelchair. Not being able to stand does not make Karpal less effective as an MP. Neither does being able to stand makes Ibrahim a better MP. Ibrahim should take heed of the following saying: It is better to keep one’s mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubts.”
The International Parliamentary Union (IPU) has published a document called the Handbook for Parliamentarians on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol. The document in PDF can be downloaded here. MPs and State Assemblymen who are genuine in respecting the rights of disabled people should read this handbook to understand that people are disabled not by their conditions but by attitudinal and physical barriers.
They must also understand that disabled people is one of the largest minority groups in Malaysia that has been left out from mainstream society and marginalised in many ways. It is time the people’s representatives through the mandate they have been given push for substantial changes in the societal and governmental systems to ensure that disabled people are brought up to par with the progress that everyone else has been enjoying.
NST Online » Frontpage
Dewan Rakyat: It looks like nothing has changed between two foes
POLITICAL maverick Datuk Paduka Ibrahim Ali (Ind-Pasir Mas) and Karpal Singh (DAP-Bukit Gelugor) renewed their mutual dislike of each other.
While Karpal chose to be political in his salvo, Ibrahim got personal and left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.
The two took swipes at each other, when Karpal demanded to know the status of the former deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department.
“He contested under the Pas ticket in the recent elections. How come he sits here as an Independent?” he asked.
Ibrahim shot back and asked Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia why the wheelchair-bound Karpal was allowed to ask questions sitting instead of standing.
Ibrahim Ali’s remarks did not go down well with Pakatan Rakyat MPs.
Fong Po Kuan (DAP-Batu Gajah) called on the chair to make Ibrahim retract his unparliamentary language.
Azmin Ali (PKR-Gombak) weighed in and said there was no excuse for the language used by Ibrahim.
Pandikar Amin sidestepped the issue but cautioned members not to use unparliamentary language.
Karpal also continued where he had left off in the 11th parliament with Datuk Bung Moktar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan).
Karpal called Bung Moktar “Big Foot creature” and Bung Moktar retaliated by calling Karpal, “Big Monkey”.
In the lobby, Karpal said Pas must be responsible for Ibrahim’s behaviour. “They made sure he got elected.”
But Nasharuddin Mat Isa (Pas-Bachok) said as Ibrahim is an independent MP, he was not bound by Pakatan’s whip.
Later, Bung Mokhtar described Karpal as a “good friend”.
“I agree that it was unethical for Pasir Mas (Ibrahim) to touch on Karpal’s disability.”
The Star Online
Saturday May 3, 2008
Respect the disabled, Ng tells MP
KUALA LUMPUR: The Women, Family and Community Development Ministry will send a letter to the Pasir Mas MP to warn him against making insensitive remarks about disabled people.
Its minister, Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen, said she had instructed her officer to send the letter to independent candidate Datuk Ibrahim Ali at the post-Cabinet meeting yesterday.
“His words have hurt many disabled people and he has to be more cautious in future.
“He has to be more selective in his words and be sensitive,” she said at a press conference.
In the Dewan Rakyat on Wednesday, Ibrahim had teased wheelchair-bound Bukit Gelugor MP Karpal Singh for “not respecting the House” by not standing up when speaking in Parliament.