Dr Wan Azizah says government open to all views on 90-day maternity leave

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail speaks during a press conference at the Parliament lobby, October 15, 2019. ― Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail speaks during a press conference at the Parliament lobby, October 15, 2019. ― Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 15 — The government will engage stakeholders over their concerns about raising maternity leave to 90 days for the private sector, said Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

The women, family, and community development minister said resistance to the move was understandable.

“Employers are saying there will be problems with if an employee didn’t work for 90 days but we are looking at the bonding between a mother and her child.

“We want the best for the future generation. It is better if the mother gets to have more time with her baby.

“But of course, we also think about concerns raised by employers that this benefit would affect their operation and such,” Dr Wan Azizah, who is also the deputy prime minister, told reporters at the Parliament lobby today.

On Saturday, Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran said the government will take action against companies that refuse to grant the full 90 days of maternity leave beginning 2021.

Malaysian designer Christy Ng triggered a social media firestorm after saying the move would be detrimental for women in the workforce.

Ng claimed, among others, that the maternity leave would hamper women’s career prospects.

Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh yesterday rebutted claims that women would abuse the 90 days of leave and pointed out that it was still only half of the six months for which mothers are advised to breastfeed their infants.

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