Minister now says Gender Equality Act in the works

Datuk Rohani Abdul Karim. — Picture by Choo Choy May
Datuk Rohani Abdul Karim. — Picture by Choo Choy May

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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 2 — Putrajaya is working to introduce a Gender Equality Act to deal with discrimination against women, Datuk Rohani Abdul Karim told the Dewan Rakyat today.

The women, family and community development minister was responding to Opposition MP Teo Nie Ching who urged the government to improve laws to better protect women from discrimination in the workplace.

“We are currently enacting a Gender Equality Act. We have been doing a lot of engagement to solidify our aim to draft the Act,” Rohani said.

Besides drawing up new legislation, the minister also said her ministry is looking to amend other existing laws such as the Employment Act, the Pensions Act, the Penal Code, and the Domestic Violence Act to accommodate the proposed gender equality law.

Rohani’s latest remarks appear to be a reversal of her previous stand. She was previously reported this year to have said new legislation to address gender discrimination was unnecessary as the government preferred to use persuasion methods instead.

“For us, persuasive methods are more effective in the long run as we prefer to achieve our aims through cooperation and collaboration.

“We can have laws but I see that what we are doing now through our policies and programmes are proceeding well,” she was quoted as saying by The Star daily on March 9.

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