By TEH ENG HOCK
SHAH ALAM: An assemblyman was fined RM1,000 after members of the state assembly found him guilty of making a sexist remark during a debate session last Thursday.
Datuk Mohd Isa Abu Kassim (BN-Batang Kali) said he had no intention of offending anyone and apologised for the misunderstanding.
However, he alleged that Pakatan Rakyat backbenchers had wrongly interpreted his words and it was unfair to deem him guilty of making sexist remarks.
Mohd Isa was alleged to have told state executive councillor Elizabeth Wong to “not forget to take care of our own forest” during the debate.
Entering his defence, Mohd Isa said he was confident he had not committed any offence or had he contravened a Standing Order.
Mohd Isa said his remarks did not contain sexist elements as he had not ridiculed or belittled Wong's capabilities due to her gender.
He said his remarks could have been directed at anyone regardless of their gender.
“It is also not perverse in nature. Why is Rawang and the others so otak kuning (dirty-minded)?” he asked referring to Gan Pei Nei (PKR-Rawang) who had filed the motion to dock RM5,000 from Mohd Isa's allowance.
“If anyone is offended or feels insulted, I apologise,” he said.
Later, when wrapping up the debate, Gan proposed to reduce the fine from RM5,000 to RM1,000 after it was suggested by other backbenchers including Saari Sungib (PAS-Hulu Kelang), Hannah Yeoh (DAP-Subang Jaya) and Shuhaimi Shafiei (PKR-Sri Muda).
“I propose the fine be reduced to RM1,000, and for Batang Kali to personally apologise to Wong,” she said.
At the state assembly lobby, Mohd Isa reiterated that he did not utter sexist remarks or contravene the Standing Order.
“It is just a misinterpretation by the backbenchers. What is wrong with the word forest'? How is it sexist? Maybe she (Wong) felt that I was hinting at her personal life,” he said.
Datuk Satim Diman (BN-Seri Serdang) questioned why Wong felt insulted and why the rest sympathised with her.
“It is just their perception. It is clear in the Hansard (transcripts of parliamentary debates): not forget to take care of our forest'.
“He did not say your forest but our forest.
“By reducing the fine from RM5,000 to RM1,000, they admitting their perception was inaccurate,” he said.