Bills of concern to women languishing, says Maria

Maria Chin.

PETALING JAYA: Petaling Jaya MP and former Bersih chairman Maria Chin Abdullah claims many proposed bills, including the Sexual Harassment Act and Gender Equality Act, that are being discussed by politicians in the media and women’s groups, are in reality just “sitting on someone’s table somewhere”.

Maria said some MPs have discussed these new acts and brought some sexual harassment cases to Parliament. However, she adds that there is still a general lack of discussion.

“The Sexual Harassment Act was drafted 10 years ago, but it is sitting on somebody’s table now,” Maria said.

“Maybe it will be passed at the next parliamentary sitting or next year,” she said during a talk with students at Brickfields Asia College today.

In a related statement today, the Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) cited the recent incidents of a senior orthopaedic doctor reported to have sexually harassed female trainee doctors and an MP’s aide inappropriately videotaping an optician as reasons to push for the Sexual Harassment Act to be enforced.

A WAO representative told FMT the act was currently being fine-tuned.

However, the representative said there had been no new meetings with the women’s affairs and welfare ministry and their most recent meeting was in fact called by Permatang Pauh MP Nurul Izzah.

Maria says there is still a long way to go as she claimed that even a fellow female MP had suggested that sexual harassment is due to the way a woman dresses.