Friday, April 4, 2014

No provision to expunge 'rape' remarks from Hansard

There are no parliamentary provisions to expunge Deputy Home Minister Wan Junaidi Wan Jaafar’s controversial remarks about rape from the Hansard, PKR’s Padang Serai MP N Surendran pointed out today.

Surendran, who is also a lawyer and member of the parliamentary standing order committee, said that a remark can only removed from the Hansard if “there is a mistake”.

“In this case, Wan Junaidi did not say it was a mistake. He merely wants what he said to be removed. In Parliament, what you say stays in the Hansard,” Surendran (left) said during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur today.

He said it was “baffling” that speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia had agreed to Wan Junaidi’s request, and labelled the request itself as “ridiculous”.

Wan Junaidi courted controversy on March 18 when he said that non-Malays are less sensitive to rape than Malays, in trying to justify Malays making up a large percentage among those who have reported statutory rape.

He agreed that his statement could have caused hurt, though he refused to apologise and instead requested for his remarks to be expunged.

DAP’s Ipoh Barat MP M Kulasegaran (right), who is also in the same committee with Surendran, said that expunging a remark is applicable in courts, and not in Parliament.

“From what I understand, there is no such thing as expunging from Hansard under the Westminster parliament system,” he said.

“But there was a precedence in 1989, when Karpal Singh (Bukit Gelugor MP) saw some of the remarks he made about the Rulers removed from the Hansard,” Kulasegaran said.

Klang MP Charles Santiago, in his second term in the House, said that he never heard of remarks being expunged from Parliament, and called the move “unprecedented”.

“But by asking for a remark to be expunged, Wan Junaidi is setting a bad precedent. This means they could say anything and then ask it to be removed from the Hansard,” said Charles, who however said he did not have the knowledge as to whether it is allowed to expunge a remark from the Hansard.

Despite Wan Junaidi requesting for the remarks to be expunged on March 25, checks by Malaysiakini showed that as of writing time, the remarks are still included in the Parliamentary Hansard 10 days later.

~ Malaysiakini

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