Shahidan Kassim should not be appointed to the Parliamentary committee on women and children’s affairs — 91 Women, civil society groups and individuals

JANUARY 14 — We – the undersigned – strongly object to the appointment of Arau MP Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim to the Parliamentary Special Select Committee for Women and Children Affairs and Social Development. We note that Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim has since requested to be replaced.

In 2018, Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim was charged with molesting a 15 year old girl – under the Sexual Offences Against Children Act 2017. The charges were later dropped in 2019 after the complaint was withdrawn – but Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim was not acquitted.

This casts serious doubt on Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim credibility to serve on to this committee, which has the responsibility of scrutinising laws on gender based violence and child abuse.

Moreover, the Arau MP had previously objected to the formation of the parliamentary select committee on women and children.

In a time when women’s and children’s rights have been significantly set back by the pandemic, it is even more important that we appoint credible MPs, with relevant expertise and commitment to child rights and gender equality to the committee.

We call on:

  1. Barisan Nasional and Perikatan Nasional to immediately rescind Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim’s appointment, and apologise for this oversight. We call on BN chairperson Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and PN chairperson Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to address this.
  2. Opposition Leader Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim; Minister of Women, Family and Community Development, Datuk Seri Rina Harun; and Chair of the Select Committee for Women and Children Affairs and Social Development, Datuk Seri Azalina Othman – to object to Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim’s appointment.
  3. Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Harun to reflect on the lapses of the appointment process, and enact reforms to safeguard the integrity of the parliamentary select committees.

Malaysia has ratified the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Child Rights Convention (CRC). We have government agencies and frontliners dedicated to combat child abuse – including the Welfare Department, Royal Malaysia Police, and One Stop Crisis Centres in public hospitals. 

The appointment of Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim to this select committee goes against these commitments and principles.

Women’s & Gender Equality Groups

  1. Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO)
  2. All Women's Action Society (AWAM)
  3. Association of Women Lawyers (AWL)
  4. EMPOWER Malaysia
  5. Family Frontiers
  6. Inner Wheel Club of KL
  7. KRYSS Network
  8. MiWEPs - Malaysian Organisation for Development of Indian Women in Career, Entrepreneur and Professionals
  9. Perak Women for Women Society (PWW)
  10. Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor
  11. Pertubuhan Teratak Rahmah Wanita Islam (TERATAI)
  12. Sabah Women's Action-Resource Group (SAWO)
  13. SERAMAS
  14. SERATA
  15. Sisters in Islam
  16. Tenaganita
  17. The 111 Initiative
  18. The KL & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall Women Division
  19. Women's Centre for Change (WCC)

Children’s Groups 

  1. ANAK
  2. Asia Community Service
  3. Bold Association for Children with Special Needs Penang
  4. Childline Foundation
  5. End CSEC Malaysia
  6. Global Shepherds
  7. Majlis Kebajikan Kanak-kanak Malaysia (MKKM)
  8. Methodist Care Centre (Sibu)
  9. National Early Childhood Intervention Council (NECIC)
  10. New Horizons Society Early Intervention Centre
  11. Persatuan Kanak-Kanak Istimewa Kajang
  12. Persatuan CHILD Sabah
  13. Persatuan Pengasuh Berdaftar Malaysia
  14. Pertubuhan Pendidikan Anak Cahaya Sabah (Cahaya Society)
  15. Pertubuhan Perkhidmatan Intervensi Awal
  16. PS the Children
  17. SPICES Early Intervention Centre
  18. SPOT Community Project
  19. Toy Libraries Malaysia
  20. Vanguards4Change
  21. Voice of the Children
  22. Yayasan Chow Kit

Health Groups 

  1. Federation of Reproductive Health Associations, Malaysia (FRHAM)
  2. Health Equity Initiatives
  3. Malaysian Medical Association Public Health Society
  4. Persatuan WeCareJourney
  5. Reproductive Health Association of Kelantan (ReHAK)
  6. Reproductive Rights Advocacy Alliance Malaysia (RRAAM)

Other Groups 

  1. Agora Society Malaysia
  2. Aliran
  3. Amnesty International Malaysia
  4. BERSIH 2.0
  5. Beyond Borders Malaysia
  6. Buku Jalanan Chow Kit
  7. CBR Network Malaysia
  8. Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ)
  9. GoJob MY
  10. Malaysian Association of Social Workers (MASW)
  11. Make it Right Movement (MIRM)
  12. Opis International
  13. Our Journey
  14. Pergerakan Tenaga Akademik Malaysia (GERAK)
  15. Persatuan Kebajikan Biji Sawi (Mustard Seed Soup Kitchen)
  16. Persatuan Promosi Hak Asasi Manusia (Proham)
  17. Pusat KOMAS
  18. Sabah Human Rights Centre
  19. Sabah Reform Initiative (SARI)
  20. Sahabat Alam Malaysia
  21. Sustainable Development Network Malaysia
  22. Third World Network

Individuals

  1. Dato' Dr Amar-Singh HSS
  2. Azira Aziz
  3. Azimy Wan Ahmad
  4. Dr Chin Saw Sian
  5. Goh Siu Lin
  6. Hasan Al-Akraa
  7. Ivy N Josiah
  8. Jac sm Kee
  9. Jennifer Liew
  10. Dr Lai Suat Yan
  11. Dr Maria Rufina
  12. Dr Nawar Mani
  13. Priscilla Shim
  14. Prudence Lingham
  15. Raymund Jagan
  16. Dr Ruhana Padzil
  17. Dr Rusaslina Idrus
  18. Dr Shanthi Thambiah
  19. Dr Siti Noraida Habibullah
  20. Sivasangaran Kumaran
  21. Wan Nordiyawati Wan Omar
  22. Zarina Ismail Tom

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or organisations and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.

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