Earlier today, 14 January, Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Datuk Sri Azalina Othman Said announced that she has been selected as the chairperson of the Dewan Rakyat Special Select Committee on Women's and Children's Affair and Social Development
However, what caught netizens' attention was that Arau Member of Parliament (MP) Shahidan Kassim is in the select committee
The Arau MP, who is the former Perlis menteri besar, was accused of sexually molesting a 15-year-old girl, whom he asked to get into his car to "have a chat" in October 2018.
Back then, Shahidan had claimed that he invited the girl to his car as he couldn't walk.
"There's nothing more to it, it's just that I couldn't walk," Free Malaysia Today quoted the UMNO MP as saying at the Parliament lobby when asked why the teenager had gotten into his car.
In April 2019, Shahidan was given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) after the alleged victim dropped molestation charges against him and told the court she did not wish to pursue the case.
Malay Mail assistant news editor and columnist Zurairi expressed his disbelief at Shahidan now being part of the select committee
Alice Lau, who is the two-term Lanang MP and is part of the select committee, tweeted her displeasure at Shahidan's membership
Women's Aid Organisation deputy executive director Yu Ren Chung questioned the Arau MP's inclusion in the select committee
Independent broadcast journalist Tehmina Kaoosji, meanwhile, highlighted the urgency with which the country needs institutional reforms
In a conversation with this SAYS writer, Tehmina also highlighted the absence of the representatives in the select committee from the Indian community, the Orang Asli, Sabahans, and Sarawakians.
According to her, for the Orang Asli and Bornean representation, having their people is critical as the child marriage and teenage pregnancy rates among the community are staggering.
On Facebook, social activist Syed Azmi issued a statement, urging for the membership to be replaced with another woman
He also asked this SAYS writer to include his in Bahasa Malaysia:
Akhir kata dari saya:
Pada yang menyokong perlantikan orang yang dituduh, saya terima. (Saya pun rasa tak perlu naikkan kes lama, tak perlu). Post saya ini hanyalah satu permohonan saya jika boleh. Kalau tak boleh tak apa, kalau ada ruang molek di suarakan. Setakat trek rekod saya kini mana mana pemegang kerajaan kita yang memerintah saya terima dan work around it.
Kalau baca post saya pun, saya cuma mohon kalau ada yang lain atau berikanlah dia jawatankuasa yang lain.
Apa apa pun, ini satu jawatankuasa yang akan di pantau sesama mereka. Takde sesiapa yang nak buat kerja tak bagus. Semua akan cuba buat yang terbaik.
Jadi sebelum saya kena fokus kes kes hari ni, takde apa yang saya nak mohon tapi sekadar tanya boleh tak?
Tak boleh takpe.
Maaf kalau rasa pandangan sebegini biadap atau tak patut.
Selamat bekerja semua.