Tribunal to resolve sexual harassment cases within 60 days, says Rina

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s anti-sexual harassment tribunal will be up and running in a year’s time, with the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry promising cases to be resolved within 60 days.

Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rina Harun said with the Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill already passed in the Dewan Rakyat, she expects it to be tabled in the Dewan Negara next month.

“This is a new law, not an existing Act that was amended, so it will take time to set up related guidelines.

“To set up the tribunal, we need to appoint its members so this process will have to involve the Public Service Department and other agencies.

“After the law is passed, we will kick it off with advocacy programmes to spread awareness on the issue to the public, so that more people will understand what is sexual harassment and they know what they can and cannot do,” said Rina at a media briefing on the Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill here.

Members of the tribunal will consist of a president and a deputy, who must have judicial experience.

There will also be a minimum of five other members and they must have judicial or legal experience.

The anti-sexual harassment tribunal will be conducted behind closed doors to ensure privacy of complainants.

As it is a civil system, the burden of proof is on the balance of probabilities.

This is lower compared with a court case in which claims must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, and the ministry is hoping this will encourage more victims to come out.

The ministry said an outcome of the tribunal must be completed within 60 days after the first day of hearing.

Rina said a recent ministry survey found that 87% of respondents said they are more willing to come forward and lodge a complaint once the anti-sexual harrassment law is in place.

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