Walk the Talk 2015 – Speech by Puan Sri Siew Yong Gnanalingam



Members of the media, thank you very much for being here this morning for the media briefing on the SIROM Walk The Talk 2015 and what we are aiming to achieve for this year’s event by having men, women and different organisations uniting to take a stand on eliminating Violence Against Women.

I would like to give a brief background on Walk The Talk (WTT) a project initiated in 2012 when I was Federation President of Soroptimist International South West Pacific, as a Federation-wide event to advocate ending violence against women during the UN 16 days of activism to eliminate gender violence. Advocating to End Violence Against Women has been one of my key causes even when I was the SI Region of Malaysia President.

From my standpoint, Violence Against Women is not something that can or should be tolerated as the trauma on the victims and their families is deep and sometimes irreparable, but ironically it is crime that is preventable. No woman should be a victim of violence, no matter what the circumstances or excuses. Worse still, if the act is gender based. We would all agree that prevention is better than cure and one way of preventing is to have strong advocacy on the evils of Violence Against Women and the impact they have on victims, their families and society as a whole.

As a voluntary service organisation, besides the awareness and advocacy role on eliminating violence against women, some of our SI clubs in Malaysia and around the world have been engaged in other on the ground activities, like supporting shelters and homes for victims of violence and human trafficking.

Soroptimist International Region of Malaysia (SIROM) sees it as vital that all sectors of society support this important cause of ending Violence Against Women in its many forms. Hence the theme this year is “Men and Women Unite to Stop Violence Against Women”. Together, we will have a clearer voice and stronger hands to stop crimes of Violence Against Women and we are deeply grateful for the support of our like-minded partners.

I would first like to officially thank and welcome our partners, old and new and our official supporters for their willingness to participate and support our 4th Annual Walk The Talk event 2015.

May I say thank you to Polis Diraja Malaysia (PDRM) who had given their nationwide police support for our inaugural walk in 2012 themed “ Dari Perlis ke Sabah” which involved a 850KM walk by 3 walkers from Arau to Johor Baru and 8 city walks nationwide including Kuching and Kota Kinabalu. This walk would have been impossible to stage without the support of PDRM throughout the long distance walk and at the 8 city venues , held over 16 days from 25th November to 10th December 2012.

Since 2012, PDRM has been supporting our event every year by bringing in Amanita in 2013 as our key partner, providing us the speakers for talks in 2013 and 2014. This year without hesitation, PDRM has again agreed to be our partner in our event. We are even grateful for the unstinting support of PDRM.

This year we are very pleased to have two prominent organisations that are equally committed and vocal in their concern on the issues of Violence Against Women and working in their respective way for the prevention and eventual elimination of violence against women.

May I first warmly welcome and thank Ms Michelle Gyles-Donnough, UN Resident Coordinator for Malaysia and UNDP Resident Representative for Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei Darussalam for agreeing to UNDP being our partner. Ms Michelle in her short time in Malaysia has already made her mark on many platforms, not only focussed on issues of sustainable development but also on the empowerment of women which can impact development programmes. We look forward to hear from her how UNDP is focused on this issue.

Y Bhg Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye needs no introduction. He is a fierce advocate through his columns in the press representing different foundations on human rights issues and safety but today he is here as the Vice Chairman of the Malaysia Crime Prevention Foundation (MCPF).

Thank you to all our distinguished representatives of our partner organizations for being here this afternoon despite your very busy schedule.

Last but not least, I would also like to thank Ms Shanti Diariam from WAO and Judith Loh from AWAM who would be speaking on behalf of womens’ organizations working at ground level to fight Violence Against Women from many angles. They are the true warriors of the fight and we are proud to be able to support and encourage their efforts. Thank you all for walking the Talk with us.

Thank you.


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