[PRESS STATEMENT] Leveraging Existing Parliamentary Process to Review Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill 2021

[PRESS STATEMENT] Leveraging Existing Parliamentary Process to Review Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill 2021

Picture Taken from The Sun Daily

The Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill is scheduled for second reading in Parliament in the next few weeks. In anticipation of this, on March 14, 2022, the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality, ENGENDER Consultancy and Young Women Making Change met with the Minister of Women, Family & Community Development, YB Datuk Seri Rina Harun, to discuss the need to review the Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill 2021 before the second reading.

In light of current gaps in the Bill, we highlighted the opportunity to utilise available parliamentary processes to address our concerns, specifically the Parliamentary Special Select Committee on Women and Children Affairs and Social Development (PSSC). The PSSC has the power to substantively review and reconsider the areas omitted from the Bill as highlighted in our Memorandum, and provide necessary recommendations prior to the second reading.

According to Ipsos’ survey released on International Women’s Day, 35% of Malaysians feel that sexual harassment is their top concern among other important issues faced by women in the country. There is clearly an urgent need for a Bill with proper redress and prevention mechanisms which include, among others, organisational duties, a comprehensive definition of sexual harassment, and protection against victimisation.

Given the fruitful discussion with the ministry on these improvements and shared interest in exploring the role of the PSSC, we urge the Minister to facilitate this Parliamentary process that will benefit Malaysians at large. We are hopeful that this review is undertaken within a reasonable time frame that enables the rakyat’s needs to be addressed.

In support of this, we will submit an official request to the PSSC to undertake the review of the Bill today. We offer our full support to the ministry and PSSC in ensuring a productive and timely review.

We would like to thank YB Datuk Seri Rina Harun for taking the time to listen to our concerns, as well as the commitment of the Ministry in working together for a comprehensive and effective anti-sexual harassment legislation in Malaysia.

After 30 years, we all deserve a better bill.

#ReviewTheBill #KajiSemula

Endorsed by the following JAG member organisations:

  1. Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO)
  2. Association of Women Lawyers (AWL)
  3. Sabah Women’s Action-Resource Group (SAWO)
  4. EMPOWER
  5. Sisters in Islam (SIS)
  6. KRYSS Network
  7. Justice for Sisters
  8. Perak Women for Women (PWW)
  9. Tenaganita
  10. Young Women Making Change Malaysia
  11. Engender Consultancy
  12. Women’s Centre for Change, Penang (WCC)
  13. All Women’s Action Society (AWAM)
  14. Sarawak Women for Women Society (SWWS)
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