PETALING JAYA: A specific law to address sexual harassment is expected to be tabled in Parliament this year, says Datuk Seri Rina Harun.
"At the moment, the ministry is waiting for the white bill or approval from the Attorney General’s Chambers before the Bill is brought to the Cabinet for approval," the Women, Family and Community Development Minister said in a statement on Sunday (Sept 12).
"It will then be tabled for first reading in Parliament, expected to be at the end of this year," she added.
Rina noted that although the Penal Code and departmental regulations deal with sexual harassment, a specific law is needed to address the issue in a holistic manner.
"The ministry is aware that there are constraints in the law and current policies such as a high burden of proof.
"There are currently no specific remedies for victims," she said.
Rina noted that this led to cases going unreported due to victims' fear and shame.
The move to table the Sexual Harassment Bill will help plug loopholes when dealing with the issue, she said.
She added that the ministry had engaged experts and several non-governmental organisations to help draft the proposed Bill which was completed in January this year.
On a related matter, Rina said her ministry had launched several initiatives to help create awareness of sexual harassment.
As of July, Rina said the ministry had conducted 65 awareness programmes involving 10,952 participants.