2 Kelantan Assemblymen Call Homeless & People With Mental Illnesses 'Orang Gila'

Netizens criticised the state assemblymen from UMNO and PAS for using the term 'orang gila' (crazy people) as the term is offensive to people with mental illnesses.

Cover image via Kelantan TV (Facebook)

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Two assemblymen in Kelantan have used the word 'gila' (crazy) to describe homeless people and people with mental illnesses during the state legislative assembly yesterday, 25 August

According to Malaysiakini, Kok Lanas state assemblyman Datuk Seri Md Alwi Che Ahmad of UMNO, in a supplementary question, asked how homeless orang gila (crazy people) were not infected with COVID-19 despite not following the standard operating procedures (SOPs).

In response, Kijang state assemblyman Dr Izani Husin of PAS said people with mental illnesses who are also homeless may have more resistance to diseases and antibodies than others.

"Where we can be resistant to three things (diseases), they are resistant to 50," Izani, who is also Kelantan Local Government, Housing, and Health Committee chairperson, said.

"Because they are always in a dirty state, Allah allows the body to create antibodies to fight the thing (germs)."

Before asking his question earlier, Alwi Che also mentioned a popular prayer during the pandemic that can help prevent people from getting "penyakit sapok, gila, dan kusta" (vitiligo, crazy, and Hansen's disease).

Kok Lanas state assemblyman Datuk Seri Md Alwi Che Ahmad of UMNO.

Image via Kelantan TV (Facebook)

He is of the opinion that if a person is exposed to more germs and viruses, they are more likely to develop stronger resistance and immunity

"They (intellectually disabled) are often (exposed) to these conditions. (For example), if we eat something contaminated, it will affect our stomach. But they do not (get sick)," Malaysiakini quoted him as saying.

According to Sinar Harian, Izani is a Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) graduate in Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS).

He had also earlier mentioned that there are a lot of illnesses which he deems as 'gila'. He listed a few mental conditions such as affective disorder, depression, bipolar, and others, before mentioning psychotic disorder, which he said is a condition that people call 'gila'.

According to Bernama, Izani also told the state assembly that only 0.07% or 30 out of 44,003 respondents involved in a survey on the level of mental health of Kelantanese needed to be referred to psychiatry experts during the pandemic.

He said there were no suicide cases in the state and that the mental health of the people in Kelantan was in good condition.

After the state legislative assembly session, netizens criticised them for using a derogatory term to describe people with mental illnesses

Among them was Kolektif SIUMAN, a group that fights for equality and fairness for people with mental illnesses, who demanded that Izani show proof for his answers made during the state legislative assembly session.

"Putting aside his ethics as a politician, where is his ethics as a doctor?" the group asked.

The group also criticised Alwi Che for using the term 'orang gila' as it is a slur and not a medical diagnosis, before saying, "How shallow you are."

Watch the exchange between Alwi Che and Izani beginning 16:40 below:

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