Monday, March 24, 2014

Wan Junaidi should not weasel out of it

Media Statement by M. Kula Segaran MP Ipoh Barat and DAP National Vice Chairman in Ipoh on  23rd March 2014

Wan Junaidi should not weasel out of it

After being roundly denounced for making offensive remarksabout non-Malays over their supposed insensitivity to child rape, Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar yesterday made a clarification via a press statement issued by his principal private secretary, Wan Hamzah Wan Paie.

I feel that the effect of the clarification magnifies rather than mitigates Wan Junaidi’s gratuitous insult to the non-Malays.  

Wan Hamzah’s statement clarified that when Wan Junaidi said“pihak lain kurang sensitif kepadanya (others are less sensitive to it), he was referring to people not being sensitive to the need of reporting child rape cases to the police which, Wan Junaidi’s aide was at pains to point out, is different to saying non-Malays are insensitive to the phenomenon of statutory rape.

Wan Junaidi studied law, a discipline that requires a certain rigor in the use of words to convey meaning. Hence the correct words to use, if one wants to describe any group or people as having a tendency not to lodge police report on any phenomenon, are the neutral sounding “less keen” phrase and not the more indicative “less sensitive” one.

Wan Junaidi, through his private secretary’s clarification, is trying to wiggle out of a situation he had inflicted on himself. 

He should not think that he can cast aspersions on a people’s morality and then insult their intelligence by splitting hairs about the actual meaning of words he had employed in doing so.

I have checked the Hansard and noted that the MP for Setiu’s question, which elicited the answer from Wan Junaidi that has landed the deputy minister in controversy, did  not request for any breakdown of child rape cases; it merely wanted to know the total number of such cases and what is being done to combat the phenomenon.

As contained in the Hansard,  the question was as follows:

Tuan Che Mohamad Zulkifly bin Jusoh [Setiu] minta Menteri Dalam Negeri menyatakan jumlah kes rogol bawah umur khususnya yang berusia 16 tahun ke bawah seluruh negara tahun 2013 dan nyatakan langkah kerajaan bagi membendung kes berkenaan.

Instead of confining his reply to the nub of the Setiu MP’s question, Wan Junaidi proceeded to give his own twist to a circuitous reply that has now landed him in a controversy of his own making.        

His aide Wan Hamzah has cited National Registration Department’s statistics for 2012 to 2013 on babies born out of wedlock. Among Malays aged 16 and below, illegitimate births were 1,490 compared with non-Malays’ 1,836 cases, while statutory rapes reported were 2,390 and 584 respectively.

Wan Hamzah’s statement uses these NRD figures to justify Wan Junaidi’s comments: “This is what it meant when Datuk Wan Junaidi said that the Malays were more sensitive in making reports to police while non-Malays were less sensitive in making reports to police.”

I wish to ask how are such statistics compiled by the National Registration Department (NRD).  

Child rape is an offence under the Malaysian law, so how can NRD claim to know such cases and not report them to the police?

Secondly, even if there are cases where the sex is consensual and the girl chooses marriage as a solution, they do not necessarily imply that the family or a particular race is less sensitive to thephenomenon of child rape.

Wan Junaidi must know he has gratuitously offended the non-Malays by imputing to them a lack of sensitivity to the issue of child rape. His only recourse is to retract his remarks and tenderan apology.

As he has given a wrong and offensive answer which is tantamount to misdealing Parliament, he must do the necessary rectification in the Parliament on March 24 via “personal explanation” as provided for under Rule 14 of Parliament’s Standing Order.

If he elects to be obstinate and tries to defend the indefensible, I shall move a motion under Standing Order (Rule 27) to refer him to the Committee of Privileges for misleading Parliament.

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