PETALING JAYA: The Women, Family and Community Development Ministry and the Department of National Unity and Integration have plans to introduce a Bill to address the issue of gender discrimination in Malaysia.
The ministry will look into implementing a Gender Equality Act to stop discrimination towards women.
In November 2016, its minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim announced in Parliament that the ministry is working on creating the Bill to stop discrimination towards women, and that they are hoping to get more input before implementing the law.
Malaysia Employers Federation (MEF), which was asked by the Government to give its input on the issues of discrimination, said there needed to be awareness when it came to eliminating gender discrimination besides having laws and guidelines in place.
Its executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said that while large corporations were often well-equipped to handle gender discrimination issues, smaller companies in the country were less likely to be aware of such issues.
“Normally bigger companies have a full-fledged Human Resources Department and they are fully aware of the issues. Smaller companies, especially micro entities with five or fewer employees, are not fully equipped to understand discrimination issues,” he said, adding that these micro entities, which make up 73% of the total employers in the country, were the majority of employers in the country.
He said this was why more awareness programmes were needed so that employers are more sensitive to the issue of gender discrimination in the workplace.
Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) secretary-general J. Solomon said that it has received many complaints from female workers on gender discrimination at work.
He said that it was high time that the Government enacted laws against gender discrimination at the workplace.
“The Government needs to set up a Gender Protection and Development Commission, comprising female workers’ representatives, NGOs, employers and relevant representatives from the ministry which is vested with the power to assist individuals in taking legal action and designed to oversee the implementation of national action plans and make recommendations to amend the Employment Act,” he added.
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