18 – 23 April 2016 - Dr. Sita Sumrit, Chief of Women and Children Empowerment Programme, Thailand Institute of Justice, led her research team to Malaysia to conduct a field research on“Women as Justice Makers: Roles, Trajectories and Influence” research project.
On 2 June 2016, the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality together with the Gender Equality Initiative conducted a workshop in order to introduce students of the GEI participating institutions to the Aiyoh Wat Lah Awards 2016. JAG has been organising the annual Aiyoh... Wat Lah Awards since 2012, highlighting sexist, misogynistic, transphobic and homophobic statements made by public figures in Malaysia and raising awareness about why these statements are harmful to gender equality.
PUTRAJAYA, June 2 ― The Federal Court today in a landmark ruling upheld a High Court decision in a sexual harassment case between former two employees of the Lembaga Tabung Haji (LTH), paving the way for sexual harassment suits to be heard in a civil court beyond the current narrow limits dictated by the Employment Act.
A five-judge Bench chaired by the Chief Judge of Malaya, Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin ruled in favour of the female victim who had sued her male manager for sexual harassment in 2009. Both victim and perpetrator are no longer working in LTH.
“Having perused the evidence, we see no reason to disturb the learned judge's decision to dismiss main suit.
“We are also of the view that high court decision must be affirmed but based on the tort of sexual harassment. The ingredients of sexual harassment was present in abundance,” Federal Court Justice Tan Sri Suriyadi Halim Omar, who read out the judgement, said.
The Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) express our concern at the tabling of the Private Member’s Bill to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, to increase the punishments meted out by Syariah courts.
We are concerned of the manner in which this Private Members’ Bill was tabled in Parliament. JAG urges the government and the other parties involved to give full regard to the democratic way which we must observe in putting forward any legislation, particularly where the public has significant concerns.
Considering the level of debate this has generated in the public sphere, JAG requests that any future tabling of this Private Members’ Bill or anything akin to it go through a thorough process which accords full and fair transparency and debate prior to its tabling in Parliament. It is our right as citizens of this country to be given our opportunity to present our views on a legislation that will have deep impact on our society in the future.
MAY 31 — Last week, the Penang High Court found Chiam Nguang Huat guilty of murdering his wife. He had set her alight after dousing her with petrol in their living room in front of their children. He claimed to have done so because she had refused to give him money to settle his gambling debts.
Three years ago, Mohammad Affandi Ismail was propelled to infamy when a CCTV recording of him violently assaulting his wife in the presence of their two young children inside a hospital lift went viral. He stated in court that he had to teach her a lesson, as she had been disrespectful to him. Today, the Bukit Mertajam Magistrates Court found Mohammad Affandi guilty of domestic violence and sentenced him to eight months’ imprisonment.
In domestic violence cases, children are often the forgotten victims. The children in both the above cases were exposed to escalated levels of violence inflicted by one of their parents on the other. When children in such cases have to go through the trial process, they should be provided every protection available under the law. This includes access to representation or a watching brief lawyer, and the opportunity to present their victim impact statement to the court.
THE Women’s Centre for Change (WCC) Penang has urged all members of enforcement agencies handling domestic violence cases to have a comprehensive and holistic understanding of domestic violence, as well as the effect of domestic violence on victims.
WCC senior advocacy officer Melissa Mohd Akhir said members, including police and social welfare officers, should understand domestic violence laws, and the rights ofvictims to protection under the law, as well as undergo training to grasp and appreciate their roles in preventing domestic violence as laid out under the law and the Guidelines to Handling Domestic Violence Cases.
The Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) is gravely concerned over the proposal to amend the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (CMA). We believe, based on reports of the proposed amendments and the escalating suppression of freedom of expression, that these amendments will have the impact of worsening the human rights situation on the ground for women.
The proposed amendments include mandatory registration of “political” bloggers and online news portals, and an increase in penalties for offences under the CMA. The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) will also potentially be accorded greater powers to take down online content and block websites.
The Internet has provided new tools and platforms for women to express ideas and desires, connect with others like them, organise themselves to address injustices, as well as bypass some of the financial and social barriers against running businesses. However, in the context of entrenched conservatism and the politicisation of religion, Malaysian women’s behaviour online is already scrutinised and regulated by gendered norms. Women who are perceived to have “transgressed” routinely receive rape threats, and often their personal information online would be spread online to shame them. Regressive ideologies around women’s sexualities and gender expressions in particular are used to denigrate and silence women.
The proposed amendments will not address violence, discrimination and misogyny faced by women online. They will instead add to the threats faced by women who are speaking out on issues that matter to them, from democratic governance to the GST to their life choices. The idea that somehow the government could discern “political bloggers” from other bloggers, for example, is laughable. Malaysian women’s lives are political because even our identities are politicised.
The Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) questions the need of the decision by the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) to conduct a pilot project which places two police officers and a sergeant at the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) to assist in the enforcement of syariah laws.
We are especially concerned as PDRM is a federal body and the allocation of federal resources for a state religious body reflects grave misplacement of priorities.
While the deployment of police officers at Jais may seem like an effort to increase accountability and professionalism of the religious authorities, this pilot project would likely only focus on the implementation of the Selangor Syariah Criminal Offences Enactment specifically on moral policing, with little attention given to the laws themselves and their impact on our fundamental liberties.
Wouldn’t federal resources be better spent on tackling issues of gender-based violence rather than moral policing?
The Baseline Study on the Working Conditions of Male and Female Lawyers in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor conducted by The Association of Women Lawyers, provided a comparative view of the careers and compensation of men and women lawyers here. Factors examined include factors that influence career progression, levels of gender bias, salary levels and the impact of family obligations or having children, among others.