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Khamis, Jun 20, 2024

Table the long overdue Sexual Harassment Bill when Parliament reconvenes, says Tawau MP Liew

Table the long overdue Sexual Harassment Bill when Parliament reconvenes, says Tawau MP Liew

TAWAU: Tabling and passing of the long-deferred Sexual Harassment Bill should be given priority, among other critical matters, when Parliament reconvenes, said Tawau MP Datuk Christina Liew (photo).

The former Deputy Chief Minister said sadly, Malaysia is lagging behind many countries in terms of enactment of sexual harassment legislation.

Liew lamented that governments pledging to protect the fundamental rights and interests of women have come and gone, but the much-needed legislation remains elusive.

“No more delay, please. The Federal Government will be doing a great disservice to Malaysian women by continuing to procrastinate the tabling and passing of the Bill in question. “Seriously, the long-awaited Sexual Harassment Act must seek to protect women from sexual harassment by providing a safe environment both inside and outside the workplace (in light of the recent incident where a cultural beauty contestant was allegedly molested).”It was reported on social media that incidences of such harassment have increased during the pandemic period. Many young women have been exploited by the perpetrators but they dare not report to the authorities for fear of shame or reprisals,” she said in a statement on Tuesday.

Liew, who is also Api Api Assemblywoman, said formulation of the Sexual Harassment Bill dates back to the Barisan Nasional (BN) era which ended in May 2018.

“The Bill was then reviewed by the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry during the Pakatan Harapan (PH) Administration. But suddenly, there was a change of government on February 21 last year. The rest is history.

“However, it was announced by the National Alliance (PN) Government in July 2020 that the Sexual Harassment Bill would be tabled in Parliament that year,” she recalled.

Liew noted that in recent years, some cases in Sabah have been reported by the victims to Soroptimist International Kota Kinabalu (SIKK) led by women’s rights activist Hanaa Wong Abdullah.