Wanita MCA to help set up centres for harassment victims

Team effort: Chong (third from right) and Heng (fourth from right) launching the Say No to Sexual Harassment campaign at the 46th Wanita MCA AGM at Wisma MCA in Kuala Lumpur. Looking on are party vice-presidents Datuk Tan Teik Cheng (fourth from left) and Datuk Lim Ban Hong (fifth from left), Wanita MCA deputy chief Wong You Fong (second from right) and other party representatives. — LOW LAY PHON/The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Wanita MCA is partnering with the police to set up 179 enquiry centres nationwide to help victims of sexual harassment.

This initiative is in tandem with the tabling of the Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill for first reading in the Dewan Rakyat on Dec 15, said Wanita MCA chief Datuk Heng Seai Kie.“To raise public awareness, we will also collaborate with the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry and other non-governmental organisations to educate the public through a series of broadcasts and lectures in Bahasa Malaysia, Mandarin and Tamil,” she said.Addressing the 46th Wanita MCA annual general meeting (AGM) yesterday, Heng launched the “Say No to Sexual Harassment” campaign together with party secretary-general Datuk Chong Sin Woon and other Wanita delegates.

Heng called on the government to address laws and policies which discriminate against women.

For example, she suggested amending Article 14(1)(b) of the Federal Constitution which touches on children’s citizenship from “father” to “father or mother”; raising the legal minimum age of marriage to 18; reintroducing Article 88A that prohibits unilateral conversion of minors; and amending the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act.In referencing former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s remark about the Chinese community’s continued use of chopsticks, Heng said Malaysians are free to decide their own lifestyle as long as they abide by the law.

“Dr Mahathir’s remarks not only expose his discrimination against the Chinese but also a wild ambition to assimilate everyone.

“This violates Articles 10 and 152(1)(a) of the Federal Constitution, which provides the rights and freedom to mother tongue education and lifestyle for every ethnicity,” she said.During the launch of his new book on Dec 12, Dr Mahathir had said that the community’s continued use of chopsticks was a challenge in assimilating non-Malays.

Heng said Malaysia, under the leadership of Barisan Nasional for over 60 years, had always advocated harmony among the races instead of assimilation.

“Find common ground amid our differences and form a symbiosis. Combine the strengths and resources of all ethnic groups for shared prosperity,” she said.

She said Malaysia’s multi-stream education system means many people could utilise various languages.“The world recognises our multilingual proficiency and it’s our advantage in international business.“The languages, cultures, religions and traditions of 103 ethnic groups have served as potent attractions for overseas tourists. Our diversity is a national asset that must be cherished,” she said.

Heng said Wanita MCA will safeguard mother tongue education and the multi-stream education system provided by the Federal Constitution, and support the Prime Minister’s concept of “Keluarga Malaysia” (Malaysian Family).It is important to secure “pluralism, moderation and democratic principles” and oppose any attempt by political parties or individuals to impose their personal values on others, Heng said.

“Similarly, a word of advice for a certain ‘not Chinese’ political party – stop self-belittling to please your allies to the extent of denying your ancestral roots, ceding everything and capitulating to assimilation.

“We need to be able to discern right from wrong. What’s the meaning of politics without principles, even if it nets you a few seats, till you lose all your dignity as a result?

“What should Malaysian Chinese do when you sacrifice our rights and interests, leaving us feeling embarrassed?” she asked.

Wanita Umno chief Datuk Seri Dr Noraini Ahmad, who joined the opening virtually, lauded MCA’s pragmatism and moderate stance.

“Unlike the rival party, MCA follows a pragmatic and moderate political struggle line. MCA’s modest attitude in governing the country allows all to achieve prosperity under the spirit of Keluarga Malaysia.“As an important component party in Barisan, MCA has contributed to the country’s prosperity, stability and national unity,” she said, adding that without MCA, there would be no Malaysia today.

She said MCA and MIC had stayed with Umno through thick and thin, upholding the Barisan spirit.

Meanwhile, floods in the Klang Valley impacted the attendance at the AGM of Wanita MCA and MCA Youth. The total attendance at the Wanita MCA AGM was 687 out of 1,923 delegates nationwide (35.73%). The Youth AGM registered 317 out of 1,397 delegates nationwide (22.69%).All resolutions proposed during the Wanita MCA AGM were passed, covering matters related to party affairs, politics, economy, education, humanities and societies, and law.

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