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Jumaat, April 19, 2024

MP : Anti-Sexual Harassment Act is to protect rights and well-being of victims

KUALA LUMPUR: The passing of Malaysia’s Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill 2021 by the Dewan Rakyat on July 20 means more legal ‘bite’ with the impending establishment of a Tribunal on Sexual Harassment to effectively handle such complaints, says former Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Christina Liew.

The Tawau MP cum Api-Api Assemblywoman described the development as a milestone in the history of Malaysian women’s fight against sexual harassment.

Liew said the Sexual Harassment Act, when gazetted as law, is here to protect the rights and well-being of victims, be it in the workplace, public transport facilities or in other public areas.

“We hope enforcement of the law would keep potential perpetrators at bay. 

“Would-be victims of sexual harassment should not feel intimidated by the improper conduct of their employers or superiors, but should instead  rightfully seek justice under the legislation.

“Affected women out there should no longer suffer in silence as reported. Any such cases should not be swept under the carpet but be brought to light before the soon-to-be established Tribunal within the limitation period for a fair hearing and just verdict,” she said in a statement on Saturday.

The Bill was tabled for its first reading in December last year, and Liew raised concerns over certain shortcomings in the Bill during the parliamentary sitting in March this year.

The Tawau MP is happy to note that legal representation is allowed whereby the parties may be represented by an advocate and solicitor where the Tribunal “is of the opinion that the matter in question (complaint) involves complex issues of law”.

In Sabah, women’s organisations had been campaigning for a sexual harassment enactment as far back as the 1980s. These include the Sabah Women’s Organisation (Pewasa), Sabah Women-Action Resource Group (Sawo) and Junior Chamber International (JCI) Intan, Liew added.