PRESS STATEMENT BY YB CHONG ENG, STATE EXECUTIVE COUNCILLOR FOR SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT & RELIGIONS OTHER THAN ISLAM (17th September, 2021):
A NEW DEAL FOR THE KELUARGA MALAYSIA
I humbly request the Prime Minister of Malaysia Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob to have a new deal for the keluarga Malaysia in light of the recent development in the country.
Malaysian mothers and civic societies, including politicians of both divide have been urging the government to withdraw its appeal against a high court decision in granting Malaysian mothers the equal status to the fathers in their children’s citizenship, thereby removing the gender discrimination against Malaysian women for years.
In Penang, the state government launched the gender inclusiveness policy, the first of its kind in Malaysia since 2019, aims to reduce gender inequality and to ensure a gender-balanced environment is created within the state government.
Penang also has formulated safe family policy to address domestic violence by providing more avenues for victims to seek help.
I call upon the Prime Minister to make this a new deal for the keluarga Malaysia based on these four factors:
- Malaysian mothers have equal right to pass on their citizenship to their children, whether born here or abroad with their foreign spouse.
- Expediate the tabling of sexual harassment bill as soon as possible in the Dewan Rakyat.
- Implement gender inclusiveness policy in all states of Malaysia by withdrawing the appeal against the high court decision which grants mothers the same status as the fathers and introduce more protection for women from sexual harassment.
- Implement safe family policy in Malaysia like the Penang state government to provide more avenues for domestic violence victims to seek help.
This will definitely be a new deal that Malaysian women would look forward to have in their home countries.
The same status according to Malaysian women does not make the men anything lesser.
The proposed sexual harassment act also does not rob men of anything, the same for the gender inclusiveness policy and safe family policy.
Women made up of 48.5% of the population in Malaysia but we have yet to see a minimum of 30% of women at decision-making level in both the government and private sectors. We do not have 30% of women representation in the parliament either.
The extremely low representation of women at 12.8% in the Cabinet of Malaysia deserves attention.
Of the 70 members, nine or 12.8% of them were women holding the positions of minister and deputy ministers.
Worse, instead of getting a better treatment at home, in school and at workplace, many Malaysian women suffered gender discrimination and sexual harassment in silence for long period of time.
The increase in the number cases of domestic violence as reported in the media only reveals that the harassment and violence against women worsened during the Covid-19 pandemic.