PRESS STATEMENT BY YB CHONG ENG
STATE EXECUTIVE COUNCILLOR
FOR WOMEN & FAMILY DEVELOPMENT, GENDER INCLUSIVENESS & RELIGIONS OTHER THAN ISLAM
“Respect Basic Human Rights: Reconsider Gender Segregation at Events”
21 February 2020
Georgetown: I strongly urge the Terengganu government to reconsider gender segregation at events which was mentioned by the Terengganu Tourism, Culture, and Information Technology Committee chairman Ariffin Deraman on 19th February 2020. Such an approach would tarnish the country’s image of respecting diversity and inclusion as well as basic human rights.
I believed that such a guideline has defied the principle of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As of today, Malaysia remains
committed to upholding the right to freedom and expression as stated in Article
10 of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia, as well as Article 19 of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). However, the Terengganu
11-guideline provided by the Terengganu Government has shown employment
discrimination against women, whereby stage performance can only involve
male singers and dancers. Such a statement is a strong indication of
discrimination towards women as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
clearly states that everyone, either man or woman, has the freedom to exercise their rights
regardless of the context they are working.
Besides, limiting women on their working ground also defy the Malaysian’s Federal Constitution. Article 8 of Federal Constitution also prohibits discrimination on the ground of gender. Nothing in the Malaysian law excludes women from taking any legal occupations of their choice so long as they have the required skills and expertise. The country is fighting hard to ensure women have the right to participate and to perform all functions as citizens of this country. Hence, it is totally unacceptable to limit women’s performance to perform only to the women audience when men can perform to both.
Last but not least, such guidelines also tarnish the multicultural dan diversity image of Malaysia. “Respect” has been a key component of cultural diversity and inclusion in Malaysia and this is acknowledged globally. Indeed, the Rukun Negara cautions against the abuse of democracy rights to promote communalism and rejects behaviour that is arrogant or offensive to the sensitivities of any group. Women have been making significant contributions to every aspect of Malaysia’s development, including cultural sectors. Such ‘social protection’ and ‘moral policing’ under the 11-point guidelines has provided a contrary image.
In a nutshell, I urged the Terengganu government to reconsider the enforcement of their 11-point guideline that will enforce gender discrimination and push women even further into a corner.