Zero tolerance on domestic violence, review of laws discriminatory to women, says Wanita MCA

PETALING JAYA: In conjunction with International Women’s Day, Wanita MCA is strongly calling for zero tolerance on domestic violence and for the government to review and amend laws that are discriminatory against women.

Its chief Datuk Heng Seai Kie (pic) said women and children are often the victims of domestic violence or crime due to differences in physique and strength.

As such, Heng said laws and policies that are obsolete and discriminatory or disadvantageous to women needed to be reviewed and amended.

Among the laws that needed to be reviewed and amended, according to Heng, were legislation to outlaw child marriages by making it a criminal offence under federal law, and to reincorporate Article 88A into the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 that will prohibit any parent from unilaterally converting their minor children.

Heng also urged for amendments to the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976, in which the police should be responsible for arresting and sending a former husband to prison if he deliberately refuses to pay alimony to his former wife, once the court has convicted and sentenced him to prison.

She also called for legislation to be amended to resolve the issue of inequality to bestow citizenship between men and women, to reexamine the employment policy of non-citizen spouses of Malaysians who are in transborder marriages, and to introduce new legislation to ban and severely punish new types of crimes such as online gambling, pornography, and fraud cases that are growing rampant in Malaysia to safeguard the interests of the people as well as to correct unhealthy social trends

To assist women affected by domestic violence, Heng said Wanita MCA, through Lawa (Legal Advisory & Women's Aid Centre), provides a one-stop help centre for abused women by providing legal advice, applying for restraining orders, providing shelter, counselling or financial support.

Heng said although there are laws and much aid provided, women must know how to defend themselves against domestic violence.

"In view of this, we have to improve the self-defence ability of women, as we are fighting against domestic violence and external intrusions such as robbery and snatch theft," she said during the opening of Wanita MCA's 45th annual general meeting on Saturday (March 6).

For International Women's Day, Heng said they will work with the Malaysian Karate Association and Malaysia Chinese Women Entrepreneur Association to provide a free series of "Karate Defence and Self Protect" training courses through videos from March 12 to 20.

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