MEDIA STATEMENT BY YB CHONG ENG, PENANG STATE EXCO FOR SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT AND NON-ISLAMIC RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS (16th February 2021):
CALLED FOR THE LONG-DELAYED SEXUAL HARASSMENT BILL TO BE TABLED IN PARLIAMENT SOON TO CREATE A SAFER ENVIRONMENT
Amidst the fight against the pandemic Covid-19, the country was shocked by a viral story of an incident that happened on 12 February, where a young woman was sexually harassed by a police officer at a roadblock in Jalan Duta. This is a misuse of power by the alleged police officer and it proves further the importance of a Sexual Harassment law in Malaysia.
I strongly support the statement made by Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and Hannah Yeoh that called for the long-delayed Sexual Harassment Bill to be tabled in Parliament soon to create a safer environment that is free from sexual harassment for both women and man, girls and boys in Malaysia.
According to the PDRM statistic, between the year of 2013 till 2017, a total of 1,218 cases of sexual harassment has been reported which female make up largely the number of victims by 79 per cent and while 21 per cent involved male victims, many of whom were children.
This is why I believe with the passing of the Sexual Harassment Bill, community understanding and awareness towards the issue will increase as the Bill will clearly outline and define what is sexual harassment. The bill will also assist victims to seek redress by providing them with a proper channel to complain. On that note, I urge that immediate action should be taken by the authorities in cases involving sexual harassment for the victims to be able to return to their daily lives without fear of being continuously sexually harassed.
I would also like to commend Angkatan Wanita Amanah Negara (AWAN) Soraya Salim, who urged Malaysian to stop blaming the victims through the negative and derogatory comments. It is high time that society should focus on applauding the courage of the brave victims that come out and tell their story. The Penang State Government as well as various non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and individual figures (NGI) are always conscious of this issue and are ready to provide assistance and support to the victims.
While there are laws and special measures to help victims of sexual harassment, if there is no political will from society, things will not change for the better. I believe that instead of pointing fingers at whom to blame, it is high time that we put an end to this culture by changing our mindset towards it.