Bigotry In Malaysia

MACC counsel Datuk Abdul Razak Musa then stood up to protest Karpal’s continued use of the word “murder” in pertaining to Teoh’s death.

When Karpal, who is in a wheelchair, told Abdul Razak to “sit down”, the latter replied: “I will sit down but you cannot stand up.”

The Star – January 15, 2010

Abdul Razak must have thought that his shooting from the hip was the perfect rebuttal to Karpal. Although the remark was pointed at Karpal, it has, in one fell swoop, affronted all wheelchair users. This is a blatant disregard for the dignity of disabled people.

Of all people, I would least expect a lawyer to say something as disrespectful as this. Ridiculing a disabled person’s condition is bigotry just like how making deprecating remarks along racial lines is considered racism. Let there not be a doubt regarding this.

This is also an indication of how little the government has done to promote disability equality in the country. When Parlimentarians and government officers have no qualms with throwing insults at disabled people, they set a bad precedent to society at large on how disabled people should be treated. Thankfully, people like these are a minority. Such attitudes are still disconcerting nonetheless.

If the government is serious in protecting the rights and dignity of disabled people in Malaysia, they should come out with an anti-discrimination law. The Persons with Disabilities Act 2008 does nothing to that effect. Disabled people in Malaysia still face attitudinal and environmental barriers in every aspect of their lives.

The Star Online

Published: Friday January 15, 2010 MYT 11:38:00 AM
Updated: Friday January 15, 2010 MYT 1:36:58 PM

Teoh Beng Hock’s inquest takes a further turn (Update)

SHAH ALAM: The inquest into the death of political aide Teoh Beng Hock took a further turn when a hearing on an application to cite a Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officer for contempt targeted its counsel instead.

Counsel for the Government Tan Hock Chuan had earlier given the court the Attorney-General’s assurance that no action would be taken against Thai forensic pathologist Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand.

He said the A-G was also of the opinion that Dr Pornthip had not leaked any information to Suara Keadilan, which had carried an article “confirming” that Teoh had been murdered.

Coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas then said that given the A-G’s opinion, there was no longer any need to proceed with contempt proceedings against Raub Ghani, who had lodged a police report against Dr Pornthip alleging that she had leaked information from the results of the second post-mortem performed on Teoh to “unauthorised” parties.

Raub, 41, who is attached to the Putrajaya MACC investigation unit, had lodged the report at the Shah Alam district police headquarters on Jan 1.

However, the counsel representing Teoh’s family, Karpal Singh argued for contempt proceedings to continue against Raub as going by the A-G’s opinion, it would seem to indicate that the MACC officer had lodged a false police report and thus, should be “duly dealt with”.

MACC counsel Datuk Abdul Razak Musa then stood up to protest Karpal’s continued use of the word “murder” in pertaining to Teoh’s death.

When Karpal, who is in a wheelchair, told Abdul Razak to “sit down”, the latter replied: “I will sit down but you cannot stand up.”

The court was thrown into further chaos when at one point, Gobind Singh Deo called Abdul Razak a “scoundrel” for insulting Karpal Singh’s disability, and wanted contempt proceedings initiated against Abdul Razak.

The court has momentarily stood down for both Karpal and Gobind to refer to grounds to initiate proceedings against Abdul Razak.

Coroner Azmil Muntapha fixed Jan 22 to hear submissions in the contempt proceedings against Raub.

He agreed there were elements of contempt in Abdul Razak’s remarks against Karpal, but only cautioned him.

Ibrahim Ali: Hello! Where Is Your Brain?

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.

Bung Moktar Radin: Bigfoot In Malaysian Parliament

“Berdirilah kalau berani! (Stand up if you dare!)”

It is déjà vu all over again on the first session of Malaysia’s Twelfth Parliament. The above was the challenge issued by Kinabatangan MP Bung Moktar Radin to Bukit Gelugor MP Karpal Singh. This happened after Karpal called Bung Moktar a bigfoot. Karpal sustained severe cervical injury in a traffic accident in 2005 and is currently using a wheelchair.

While Karpal’s derision was uncalled for, I take offense at Bung Moktar’s retort. Knowing that Karpal is unable to stand and yet using such a low brow challenge just goes on to show how shallow a person Bung Moktar is. I take this as an affront to all wheelchair users. We may not be able to physically stand up but that does not mean we do not have the courage to fight injustices perpetrated against us.

If Bung Moktar’s attitude is a reflection of how the Malaysian society sees disabled people, we should never ever use the word “masyarakat penyayang” again. I truly hope this is not so. If this is how Bung Moktar view disabled people – that because they cannot stand up they lack courage – then I weep for the disabled people who have voted him into Parliament. They would have gotten more respect had they voted for an orang utan or even the bigfoot.