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Malaysian MP: women drivers 'slow' and 'oblivious'

29 march 2011, 12:01
© RIA Novosti
© RIA Novosti
Women drivers are "slow" at the wheel and "oblivious" on the roads, a Malaysian ruling party MP told parliament, prompting outrage among women's groups Tuesday, AFP reports.

"Some women drivers drive slowly and seem oblivious to traffic," Bung Mokhtar Radin was quoted as saying by the Star daily, while urging the government to set up a body to monitor new motorists.

"When you honk at them, they get agitated with some even showing hand gestures to other drivers," he added. An aide to the lawmaker confirmed the remarks but declined further comment.

It is not the first time Bung has made controversial comments about women.

In 2007 he brought up menstruation in a debate about parliament's leaking roofs, responding to a female opposition MP by stating: "Where is the leak? (She) leaks every month too." He later apologised.

Rights group Tenaganita's programme coordinator Aegile Fernandez said the lawmaker's latest remarks were "sexist" and "reflective of the kind of backward mentality of some male politicians."

"That such a comment was made just shows the kind of backward thinking and prejudice towards women," she told AFP.

"There are women fighter pilots who are better than men so these comments about slowness and being oblivious are silly," she added.

All Women's Action Society senior programme officer Abigail De Vries said it was a "disgrace that such a person is a lawmaker."

"This is only the latest of his sexist comments," she added.

According to figures from the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research, road fatalities increased by 15.32 percent from 2001 to 2009, the latest year for which figures were available.

It did not have statistical breakdowns based on gender.

Car and bus accidents are relatively common in Malaysia, often involving interstate routes and accompanied by revelations that drivers were unlicenced, speeding or under the influence of drugs to keep themselves awake.

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