Stop Gender Discrimination
Press Statement – 1 May 2017
We urge the Government to enact specific anti-gender discrimination laws which would further promote, protect gender and eradicate gender discrimination.
In 1985, all women’s organisations got together to submit reforms to all laws and policies in Malaysia that discriminate against women and the girl-child. Only in 2001, after much lobbying was gender included in Article 8 of the Federal Constitution.
The Malaysian Government had ratified the Convention of Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in July 1995 and should give full effect to the principles of CEDAW. To do less would be contrary to UN Conventions and treaties that Malaysia is bound to honour at every level of implementation.
SIROM draws attention to the need to address all the outstanding concerns made by the Committee after its review of Malaysia recently.
We urge the Government to appoint a task force comprising women’s organisations, such as SIROM with representation throughout Malaysia, to study the recent escalation in cases and blatant elements of discrimination displayed against women and girls arising from the various incidents raised by the vigilant Press.
The most recent case in point is the decision to ban a young female chess contestant based on an opinion or view rendered that her dress was “indecent”. This decision was made without any set criteria as to dress code for contestants, was arbitrary and discriminatory in nature.
This is no different from denying employment due to pregnancy which the High Court had decided was unconstitutional. The Government had also withdrawn its appeal.
ref: the case of Chayed Basirun & Ors v NoorfadillaAhmad Saikin. In it Shah Alam High Court Justice Zaleha Yusof relied on CEDAW in clarifying what was meant by the terms “equality” and “gender discrimination”.
Nora S.W Lam
National Representative Malaysia to Soroptimist International of the South West Pacific
Dr Saradha Narayanan
President, Soroptimist International Region of Malaysia
Dato’ Anusha Santhirasthipam
President-Elect, Soroptimist International of the South West Pacific