Reform group calls for action to stop sexual harassment

PETALING JAYA: The Labour Law Reform Coalition is urging Putrajaya to ratify an international convention that deals with sexual harassment and violence at the workplace.

Its co-chairman N Gopal Kishnam said Convention 190 of the International Labour Organisation will empower victims to lodge a report against their superiors as they were afraid of repercussions.

“We believe that many of the cases go unreported,” he told FMT, claiming that only 10% or roughly below 200 cases are reported.

Gopal said the current structure does not offer sufficient protection for victims to file a complaint.

He said the ILO convention covers all forms of violence, including sexual harassment, verbal and emotional abuse, bullying and denial of resources among others.

He said the previous Pakatan Harapan government could not ratify the convention as it was not supported by the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) and the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF).

However MTUC had since changed its stance and was now backing the convention. MEF was reviewing its position. Gopal said there was no reason for the federation to go against it.

Employers, he said, had the duty and responsibility to ensure that workplaces are safe and conducive and which would spur productivity.

“It would also look bad if they didn’t support it.

“Voting against the convention sends the wrong signal that they condone violence and harassment against workers, especially women.”