Stop the blame, shame the predator! — Syerleena Abdul Rashid

Source: Malay Mail Online

BY SYERLEENA ABDUL RASHID

JANUARY 17 — In recent months, stories of sexual harassment have surfaced and highlight the extent of abusive behaviour made towards women. Men in media and now, in government, have been exposed of their inappropriate behaviour, therefore, the onus is on us to rightly remove them from their positions and publically shame them for their vulgarities.

There have been too many disturbing stories of threatening mannerisms and insulting attitudes towards female elected officials, journalists, activists and athletes. Too many reports have been ignored and swept under the rug; and the lackadaisical attitudes we are forced to deal with will only worsen the situation, therefore, the foulness of sexual harassment must be addressed sufficiently, diligently and promptly.

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30% Club makes progress in bid to have more women on corporate boards

Source: The Malaysian Insight

The Malaysian Insight

The 30% Club is intensifying efforts to have at least one woman director on all-male boards, particularly the top 100 companies out of the 923 listed on Bursa Malaysia, by next year. – EPA pic, December 19, 2017.

THE Malaysian chapter of the 30% Club, a group driving a business campaign to increase women’s representation on corporate boards, made good progress this year, said founding chairman Zarinah Anwar.

Since its launch in Malaysia in May 2015, the 30% Club’s initiatives, such as the Business Leaders’ Roundtable, mentoring programmes and the placement of women directors, had yielded positive results, she said in a statement today.

Zarinah said the 30% Club was intensifying efforts to have at least one woman director on all-male boards, particularly in large market capitalisation or the top 100 companies out of the 923 listed on Bursa Malaysia, by next year.

The 30% Club also aims to help Malaysia achieve 30% women’s representation on public-listed corporate boards by 2020, as more qualified women make themselves available for board appointments.

“We are seeing more boards acknowledging that gender diversity makes good business sense,” said Zarinah.  Read more

Employers must allow female staff 90 days maternity leave

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Private sector employers could be prosecuted if they dismiss female staff who took 90 days maternity leave, warned the deputy minister of human resources. — AFP file pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 13 — Private sector employers can be investigated and prosecuted if they dismiss female staff who take 90 days maternity leave.

Deputy Minister of Human Resources Datuk Seri Ismail Abd Muttalib said such action was in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Constitution that everyone had equal rights including employment.

“Although there is no specific clause stating that private sector employers cannot terminate the service of a female worker for taking 90 days maternity leave, we have to uphold the principle law which is the Federal Constitution.

“Employers cannot terminate the service of female workers when they become pregnant; these women have contributed much to help their companies to thrive.  Read more

Landmark case set to decide how much Putrajaya must pay for rights breach

Source: The Malay Mail Online 

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 7 ― The Federal Court granted leave today in a landmark gender discrimination case to decide how to determine damages for a breach of constitutional rights, which could set a precedent for other such violations by the government.

The plaintiff, Noorfadilla Ahmad Saikin, posed three questions of law to the apex court to answer: whether damages must be specifically proven when assessing damages for breach of the constitutional right to gender equality under Article 8(2) of the Federal Constitution; whether the quantum of damages should reflect a sense of public outrage, emphasise the importance of the constitutional right and the gravity of the breach; and whether the quantum of damages should deter against further breaches.

Noorfadilla had won in 2014 RM300,000 in damages for breach of her constitutional right to gender equality after she sued the government for revoking her appointment as a temporary teacher due to her pregnancy. But the Shah Alam High Court slashed last year her award to RM30,000, claiming that the original sum amounted to a “handsome profit” for the woman.

“It’s really important because so far, we don’t have any case in Malaysia on how to assess the quantum of damages,” Noorfadilla’s lawyer Honey Tan told Malay Mail Online. Read more

Court reversal on transgender ruling shows ‘wilful ignorance’, rights group says

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Supporters of transgender rights group Justice for Sisters are pictured at the Palace of Justice, Putrajaya, October 8, 2014. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa for the MMO.

Supporters of transgender rights group Justice for Sisters are pictured at the Palace of Justice, Putrajaya, October 8, 2014. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa for the MMO.

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 11 — Malaysia’s transgender community criticised today the Court of Appeal’s recent overturn of a ruling granting a trans man the right to change his registration details and be formally identified as a male.

The group and its allies, which called themselves Justice for Sisters, said the decision wilfully disregards current scientific and medical understanding of gender identity, as well as the realities and lived experiences of transgender people.

“It also displays a wilful ignorance of good practices worldwide with regards to the role of the state in its duty to uphold and protect the rights of transgender persons,” it said in a statement. Read more

Winner of landmark gender equality case gets more damages on appeal

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Noorfadilla Ahmad Saikin sued the government in 2010 after Hulu Langat district education officers revoked her appointment as temporary teacher due to her pregnancy and refused to reinstate it. — AFP pic

Noorfadilla Ahmad Saikin sued the government in 2010 after Hulu Langat district education officers revoked her appointment as temporary teacher due to her pregnancy and refused to reinstate it. — AFP pic

PUTRAJAYA, Nov 23 ― The Court of Appeal today dismissed the government’s claim of profiteering in its bid to contest damages awarded to Noorfadilla Ahmad Saikin who successfully sued it for refusing her a temporary teaching job because she was pregnant.

The three-member panel led by Datuk Mohd Zawawi Salleh, when reading the judgment, said Noorfadilla was entitled for RM30,000 for breach of constitutional rights as well as RM10,000 for pain and suffering, and RM10,000 for legal costs.

“We dismiss the cross appeal by the defendant and allow the RM30,000 for breach of constitutional protection be maintained as passed in the High Court earlier.

“Because pain and suffering cannot be included together, a separate RM10,000 will be awarded for this and RM10,000 for [legal] costs,” he said.

Senior federal counsel Mazlifah Ayob earlier submitted a cross appeal seeking for Noorfadilla to be denied any damages for pain and suffering.

She argued that there was no concrete evidence to suggest Noorfadilla had suffered from either.

Mohd Zawawi rejected this by saying pain and suffering would befall anyone who was denied their constitutional rights. Read more

WAO: Just one in eight women fought pregnancy discrimination

Source: The Malay Mail Online

It is presently not illegal in Malaysia for prospective employers to ask job candidates if they are pregnant or planning to conceive, while such questions are prohibited in the US under PDA. — AFP pic

It is presently not illegal in Malaysia for prospective employers to ask job candidates if they are pregnant or planning to conceive, while such questions are prohibited in the US under PDA. — AFP pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 10 ― Lack of awareness caused nearly 90 per cent of pregnant women who faced discrimination at work to lodge formal complaints, according to a Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) survey.

In its “Workplace Discrimination Survey” that polled 222 women, the group said many who were dismissed or overlooked for promotions due to pregnancy did not speak out as they did not know their rights or feared reprisals.

“A woman should be free to choose if and when to have children. She should not have to fear losing her job because she has a baby,” said Sumitra Visvanathan, executive director of WAO. Read more

Crackdown on dissent obscures women’s rights

Source: UCAnews.com

As rollback on rights gains headlines, Malaysian gender equality loses ground

Crackdown on dissent obscures women's rights

Malaysian gymnast Farah Ann Abdul Hadi came under fire last year for wearing a leotard at the Southeast Asia Games. Women’s rights have eroded in Malaysia amid a wider crackdown on rights and freedom. (Photo by AFP)

March 8, 2016 — The promise of gender equality in Malaysia was closer in 2006 than it is now.

A World Economic Forum chart shows that over the last decade the country’s ranking dropped from 72 in 2006 to 111 in 2015, a fall of 39 places.

An ongoing crackdown on all forms of dissent in the country has pushed women’s issues into the background.

Prominent women activists have all been targeted for their outspokenness.

Among them are Jannie Lasimbang, a former commissioner of the National Human Rights Commission of Malaysia, Maria Chin Abdullah, a civil rights leader, and Ambiga Sreenevasan, a former Malaysian Bar Council president.

All have spoken out against sexism, at times taking their case directly to the public.

But change is coming at glacial speeds. Read more

Women’s groups want all female judges allowed into Shariah system

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Istana Kehakiman / Palace of Justice ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

Istana Kehakiman / Palace of Justice ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 20 — Women’s groups here are railing against the reported barring of female judges from the Shariah justice system in certain states, calling it another form of institutionalised gender discrimination in Malaysia.

Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) executive director Sumitra Visvanathan also labelled the ban unconstitutional, noting that it is the result of state fatwas (religious edicts), which she said are guidelines and are therefore not legally mandatory.

“The attempts by some state fatwa councils to bar women judges from the Shariah justice system is yet another tool to push a misogynist agenda and maintain the status quo of inequality for women in the workplace, attempting to ensure that women are prevented from being in positions of authority.

“Furthermore, it conflicts with the Federal Constitution and other federal law (i.e. Acts of Parliament), and these pronouncements can cause confusion,” she said in an email interview with Malay Mail Online. Read more

Breach of Noorfadilla’s constitutional rights — JAG

Source: The Malay Mail Online

FEBRUARY 19 — The Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) is deeply concerned with the judgment of the Shah Alam High Court recently, on damages awarded to Noorfadilla Ahmad Saikin. We wish to highlight in particular, the huge reduction of damages made, and the harmful language and justifications used in the judgment passed on February 15th. The message being sent by this judgment is clear, discrimination on the basis of gender faced by Noorfadilla is not of concern to the state.

In this recent ruling, Judicial Commissioner Datuk Azimah Omar criticised Noorfadilla for her lack of honesty in disclosing her pregnancy. The use of such language is harmful as it suggests that women must disclose their pregnancy during a job interview, which is not a requirement of Malaysian law, and implies that a woman’s ability to work effectively is inherently linked to her pregnancy status.

Pregnancy, or the desire to have children, bears no challenge on a woman’s ability to perform her job. It is unacceptable that women must disclose their intentions in regards to children to their employer. It is unacceptable that wanting children should be barrier to women’s economic empowerment. Read more