回应大时代!我们必须拥有比以往更坚韧的毅力和决心!
回应大时代!我们必须摆脱委曲求全,含蓄内敛的从政态度!
回应大时代!我们必须目标明确,大是大非不妥协!
回应大时代!我们无惧风雨,奋勇前进!

Friday, 29 January 2010

周美芬的真情告白 Words from Chew Mei Fun’s heart


千锤万击寒梅飒爽

在马华面对308的挫败后,接棒领导马华妇女组不是一件容易的事,除了必须重整及激发内部士气,也需赢回选民对马华的信心,这才是难上加难!要改变局势不能单靠领袖,需要马华全体成员的一起努力,才能有果!


2007129日前往林明赈灾时发生的那一场车祸,我在面临生死一线的关头中,体会很多,相信能够存活,是因为过去对社会有所贡献!相信上天让我活下来,是因为要我继续服务,提供更多援助给有需要的人。

虽然在本届大选面对以惊人多数票的惨败结果,但从来不曾将败选怪罪于选民。


国阵执政50多年,许多施政方针引起不满,却没有即时解决,让民怨继续升温,直至大选成绩出炉才发现民愿的重要。

回首前任总会长丹斯里黄家定时代所推动的9大政纲和对打造健康政治文化的坚持,可以发现黄家定其实在问题发生前已看到了问题所在,只可惜当时党的价值改造,打造健康政治文化的步伐,无法赶上时代的巨变,改变不了大选的成绩。

因此,我们今天不但必须继续推动打造健康政治文化的工作,更要以无比的毅力,塑造廉洁政治,杜绝贪污腐败。

Resolute in Surmounting All Odds

“Taking over the helm at Wanita MCA in the wake of the major set back suffered by the Party in the last general election March 2008 is no easy task. In addition to revamping and stimulating internal morale, I have been given the daunting task to regain the electorate’s trust and faith in MCA. It is impossible for any one leader to effect an overall change. Instead, I need the concerted effort and undivided support of all in the extended family of MCA to achieve any results.”

At the time of life and death when I was injured in a road accident on my way to support flood relief in Sungai Lembing on 9 Dec 2007, I believe that I survived because of my past contribution to the society.

I believe that my life was spared so that I can continue serving more people who are in need.

Although I suffered a major defeat with a striking loss of majority of votes in the last election, but I have not placed any blame on the voters.

After being in power for over five decades, BN has failed to address the discontentment of the people in respect to many policies and allowed public indignation to continue. Eventually BN realized the importance of the people’s aspiration when the election results were announced.

Looking back at the former MCA president Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting’s 9-Point Party Platform and his determination in creating a healthy political culture, it is evident that Tan Sri Ong had in fact foreseen what and where the problem was. Unfortunately, the process of reform on party values and his vision in creating a healthy political culture then was in fact outpaced by the changes of time and thus could not alter the results of the general election.

Hence, today we must not only continue in our efforts to create a healthy political culture but must also be more determined to demonstrate political integrity and end all forms of corruption.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

突破格局迈向全方位Breakthrough, Towards a New Direction!


7大目标 5大计划 7 Objectives & 5 Plans

周美芬时代的 7大目标 5大计划

2008年周美芬在竞选马华妇女组全国主席时提出了《突破格局,迈向全方位!》的理念,宣布妇女组未来发展的7大目标,在成功接棒后,进一步以7大目标为本,全面展开了推动妇女组5大计划的工作,一年下来,卓有成效!



The 7 Objectives and 5 Plans in the era of CHEW MEI FUN

In her campaign for the post of Wanita MCA National Chairman in 2008, Chew Mei Fun proposed the concept of “Achieving a breakthrough to march towards a new direction” and announced the 7 objectives for Wanita MCA’s future development. Soon after her election as the Wanita MCA National Chairman, she began to expedite the 5 plans grounded on the 7 objectives. In the past one year, remarkable results in implementingthe 5 Plans were evident.

立足今日展望未来 Consolidating current position and envisioning a future Let’s work together to revitalize Wanita MCA

目标 Objective [1]

扩大关怀面,展现全方位领导才华,当全民领袖 !
以政策带动改变 以制度完善施政

成立妇女组是为了冲破一切主客观限制提供妇女参政平台,但却也可能使我们掉入了自己或他人为妇女画地自限,固步自封的陷阱!

捍卫妇女权益虽然是我们责无旁贷的核心职责,但身为从政者,我们必须拥有身当全民领袖的自我期许!要让大家心悦诚服的认同女性、托付女性,我们不能永远只局限于关心妇女、儿童、家庭等社会福利议题,扩大关怀面,展现全方位领导才华,才能披荆斩棘,开创坦途!



Extend the caring horizon and be leaders for the people
Initiate changes through policy; Effect changes through system for policy implementation

Wanita MCA was established with the core aim of providing a political platform for women to overcome all limitations. However, women may be restricted by some form of constraints either self-imposed or otherwise.

Although we are duty-bound to safeguard the rights of women, however as political leaders, we must be obliged to serve the people. To gain wider acceptance and trust of others, we must not confine our scope caring only for the social welfare of women, children and family. Instead we must extend our caring horizon and be leaders for the people to make full use of our ability and be able to surmount challenges and hurdles ahead.

目标 Objective [2]

政策倡导,专业问政
投入法令与政府政策的研议与倡导

在检讨了308大选的败因后,妇女组要冲破窠臼,当全民领袖,就必须对重大与原则性课题拥有鲜明立场,除了妇女议题,积极参与关系全民与国家发展课题的讨论,在大是大非前以专业分析的论述与理性的行动表态,以理念打动民心,树立马华妇女不亢不卑,无畏无惧的专业问政精神!

Effect Change through strategic analysis of policies and political professionalism
Deliberating on legislation and government policies

Following post mortem on our defeat at the general election in March 2008, we realize that it is imperative for Wanita MCA to break free from convention. And to be leaders for all, we must have a clear-cut stand on important and fundamental issues. Apart from women-related topics, we must actively involve in deliberation of topics concerning the entire population and national development in a critical and professional manner. We must convince the people with our ideas and project Wanita MCA as neither a pompous nor submissive political entity with a professional and outspoken approach in political affairs.

目标 Objective [3]

纵横融汇,经纬贯连

汇集各方人才 成立策略团队


马华妇女党员四十余万,是党的重要臂膀!发挥人多势众的优势和发掘党内精英的工作同等重要,因此组织发展与人才培育须做到各级组织纵横融汇,经纬贯联!


成立支会与广招党员的工作仍由支、区会继续承担推动;而党内人才汇编与培训、党外精英招揽、设立人才智库等工作则应由中央拟定策略,在各级组织的协助下全面推展,以达致以“量”动人,以“质”服人的目标!


Serve as a synergetic and integrated organizational network

Creating strategic team by pooling professionals


With a membership of over 400,000, Wanita MCA is an important wing of the party. Equally important is to capitalise on the numerical strength of membership and nurture talented members within the party. Hence, the organizational development and grooming of qualified members must include all organizational levels to form a synergetic and integrated network.


The respective divisions in the party will continue to be responsible for the setting up of branches and recruitment of new members. On the other hand, employment and training of talented members, recruitment of professionals, and the setting up of a talent pool shall be decided upon and strategized by the central leadership. These shall be carried out with the co-operation of the entire party hierarchy so that we can prevail both in terms of numbers and quality.

目标 Objective [4]


提供友善参政环境,招揽青年,培育青年
我有我主张!

为青年提供友善的参政平台,从重塑妇女组形象开始!以活力、开放、开明与创意形象吸引青年参与!

汇编党内35岁以下女青年资料,通过培训、赋权与提供开放的发挥平台,全力支援女青年的各项革新计划,让青年带动青年!

Friendly political environment for youths
I have my stance!

In order to create a friendly platform for young people to participate in politics, we have started to reinvent the image of Wanita MCA so as to project a vibrant, open, liberal and creative image to attract the participation of young people.

We will set up a database on party members below the age of 35 through training, delegation of power and an open platform. Meanwhile,we will extend our full backing to Beliawanis to carry out various reforms and innovative programmes.

目标 Objective [5]

强化,专业化妇女核心任务
突破框架走出来 我的世界海阔天空

在扩大关怀面,全方位问政的同时,我们坚持承担扶助弱势妇女、儿童与家庭的责任。

通过专业培训和身体力行的实际服务,收集政策优劣、研拟并向政府提呈改善法令与施政方案,以专业和感性与理性兼备的方式,贯彻捍卫与保护弱势妇女与儿童及家庭的神圣使命!



Professionalism in our core mission for women
Breaking away from convention and the sky is the limit

In addition to extending our caring horizon and fully participating in political deliberations, we must persevere to provide assistance to underprivileged women, children and families.

We endeavor to achieve the noble mission of protecting and caring for underprivileged women, children and families through professional and practical training for para-counsellors; research on policies and provide recommendation to existing legislations and policy implementation for the benefit of the underprivileged communities.

目标 Objective [6]



走入群众,融入社区
您有您看法 她有她坚持 我有我主见 在这里大家都有发言权

马华的生命活水来自群众,必须走入群众扩大组织人脉网络,因此首度成立妇女社区联谊局,专责推动社区人文计划与活动,让姐妹走入群众,融入社区!

Integrate with the community and be people-oriented
Whatever your views or mine, we all have our stance

As people are the lifeline of MCA, we must continue to be an integral part of the society and expand our network. In this respect, we have formed the Women NGO Community Liaison Bureau to implement community and people-oriented activities and to enable Wanita MCA members to fully identify and integrate with their community.

专访林瑞娟 Lim Swee Kiang

马华的政治生命来自广大的群众,与社更是唇齿相依,马华妇非政府组织联谊局将扮演推社区人文划与活带动姐妹走入群众,融入社区的划,以集民间妇女力量,形成一股政治推力!

林瑞娟 Lim Swee Kiang
非政府组织与社区联谊局主任

Head of Women NGO Community Liaison Bureau

The political life of MCA comes from the general public and is closely related to the Chinese community. For this reason, Wanita MCA has for the first time formed the Women NGO Community Liaison Bureau to implement community and people-oriented activities to enable its members to fully integrate with their respective community and mobilise the strength of women to become a political force to be reckoned with.

目标 Objective [7]



贯彻健康政治文化
民主法治 廉洁诚信

唯有奉行并贯彻民主法治精神、透明、廉洁、诚信的政党获得人民的支持,因此前任总会长丹斯里黄家定所致力推动的“打造健康政治文化”运动必须延续,必须落实!

对内确保各级组织与领导间沟通无障碍、决策与行政有序、透明、开放、集体领导、集体负责、人尽其才,百花齐放!对外则于廉政、勤政、民主化进程的推动决不妥协!

Cultivating a healthy political culture
Democracy, Rule of Law, Integrity and Honesty

Only those political parties which truly subscribe to the principles of democracy, rule of law, transparency and honesty will receive mandate from the people. Hence the drive to “Create a healthy political culture” advocated by former President Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting must be continued and implemented.

In order to capitalize on full potential and ability of members, internally, we must ensure no communication gap between all levels of party organisation and leadership. Further we must ensure systematic decision-making and administration; transparency; openness; collective leadership and collective responsibility.


为了人类美好的未来 我参政
I participate in politics for the betterment of human race!

浴火凤凰腾空起 The Phoenix Rises

计划 PLAN [ 1 ]

政策倡导,专业论政!
Policy-Guided and Professional Political Participation


计划重点:成立政治策略局,在国家议题与政府政策上主动出击。

Thrust of Plan: Formation of the Political Strategy Bureau towards professionalism in politics and adoption of an active and responsive role in national issues and government policy.

政治策略局针对课题集合各领域人才会商研讨,通过专业及政治策略分析,主动鉴定在国家立法与施政方面需要倡导与寻求变革的议题,展开实质介入,并随时对时下争议性课题作出回应与表达,以做到专业问政所需要的精,准,快!

马华妇女组是一个政治团体,必须关注国家政经文教各领域发展,积极参与议政工作,因此,在中委会中成立政治策略局,专研及探讨时事、政府施政与法案和涉及妇女与人民权益政经文教等课题,适时表达马华妇女组的立场与主张。

在全国妇女组主席拿汀巴杜卡周美芬上任领导妇女组的短短一年内,妇女组已成功在议政方面建立了鲜明的形象,通过专业化的课题资料收集与研讨,无论在教育、宗教、妇女及外籍配偶等课题上,都表达了实际与理论基础坚实的立场与看法。不但带领国内非政府组织向有关部门首长提呈备忘录,也设立平台和非政府组织一起进行课题研讨!

政治策略局所展开的政策倡导工作将不只涉及中央妇女组的层级,也将动员州与区级妇女组在州议会或县市议会提呈建议与备忘录,一方面履行作为政党的角色,另一方面也达到整体政治培训与动员的效果。” - 周美芬

The Political Strategy Bureau brings together professionals in the respective fields to deliberate on various issues and conducts professional and strategic political analysis. Such initiatives aim to explore issues requiring reform and identify strategies in law-making and policy implementation processes, enabling Wanita MCA to substantially participate in such processes. In addition, it will promptly respond to any controversial issues and express its views to ensure “perfection, precision and promptness" as required by professionalism in politics.

“As a political organisation, Wanita MCA must keep abreast with the developments in the nation’s political, economic, cultural, education and other fields and play an active and leading role in political deliberation. In this respect, Wanita MCA has formed the Political Strategy Bureau to specifically study and explore topical issues, government policy implementation and bills relating to the rights of women and the people, politics, economy, culture, education and other areas and make known the stance and views of Wanita MCA on such issues."

In the short span of one year under the leadership of YB Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun as the new National Chairman, Wanita MCA has successfully projected a strong image in political deliberation by professionally collecting and studying input on various topics relating to education, religion, women and foreign spouses, and so on, and firmly making known its stance and views with solid practical and theoretical basis. It has not only played a leading role in rallying NGOs to submit memoranda to relevant authorities but has also formed a platform to jointly study topical issues with NGOs!

“The initiatives taken by the Political Strategy Bureau in political deliberation and policy making process are not confined to Wanita MCA’s central leadership. It will mobilize Wanita MCA at all state and divisional levels to present their recommendations and memorandum in the respective State Assemblies or District or Municipal Councils to discharge their role as a political party as well as to achieve goal of overall political training and mobilization.” – Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun

马华中央妇女组政治策略局的重大政绩:

配合"政策倡导,专业论政"的目标,中央妇女组成立政治策略局,通过专业及政治策略分析与研究,主动倡导或实质介入,使到影响国家和女性的政策得以改善和落实。
在短短的一年里,政治策略局已积极的针对许多国家议题表达妇女组的立场,并在处理多项议题上取得成就。

Significant Achievements by The Political Strategy Bureau of Wanita MCA:

In line with the overall objective of the Policy-Guided and Professional Political Participation, the National Wanita MCA formed the Political Strategy Bureau following election of the new committee last year. This Bureau is a Wanita mechanism for substantive intervention based on professional and strategic political analysis to effect changes in the implementation of policies which affect women and the general public. It advocates and lobbies for protection and promotion of rights and interests of all, particularly women through conducting research, deliberating and effective strategizing on various issues concerning women’s rights.

In the brief period of one year, the Political Strategy Bureau has actively and clearly made known Wanita MCA’s stance on a variety of national issues and recorded achievement in a number of issues.

1. 向国会提呈备忘录要求修改国会议事条规,以禁止议员在国会使用带有性别歧视的语言,并在随后进一步将相关备忘录提呈州、县市议会,以贯彻两性平等及消除性别歧视


Caption:
马华妇女组中委及华团妇女组领袖于15/1/2009,在国会提呈《反国会性别歧视备忘录》予首相暑部长拿督斯里纳兹里,并于23/2/2009呈交备忘录予下议院议长丹斯里班迪卡阿敏和上议院主席丹斯里阿都哈密

Wanita MCA Central Committee members and women leaders of 12 Chinese Associations submitting the “Memorandum on Promoting Respect for Women to Uphold Gender Equality and non-discrimination in Parliament” to YB Dato’ Seri Mohamed Nazri Bin Aziz, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department on 15 Jan 2009 (top left), and to YB Tan Sri Datuk Seri Utama Pandikar Amin Bin Haji Mulia, Speaker of the Lower House (bottom right) and YB Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr Abdul Hamid Pawanteh, President of the Upper House (bottom left) on 23 Feb 2009

随后,国会下议院议长所主持的议会常规小组会议已通过把在国会内禁止使用带有性别歧视的语言内容纳入议会常规,并已把有关的修正建议提呈总检察长署进行审核。

在获得上一任国会上议院主席丹斯里阿都哈密同意修改上议院议会常规以维护国会形象与两性议员的尊严下,我们相信,随着我党总秘书拿督王弗明接任为上议院主席后,这项争取相信也会在短期内在上议院获得落实。

2. 捍卫及提升大马女导游的权益

拿汀巴杜卡周美芬和马来西亚女导游协会主席吕秀敏欢欣展示由旅游部发出承认该协会法定地位的公函

Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun and Erina Loo, Chairman of MWTGA showing the letter from the Ministry of Tourism recognising MWTGA as an autonomous organisation independent from affiliation with the MTGC

20081226日成功为马来西亚女导游协会申请成为旅游部承认的旅游协会之一,从此可直接为会员更新执照而再也无需求助于拒绝接纳该会成为属下会员的马来西亚导游协会。

随后,获得旅游部长拿督斯里黄燕燕医生的支持,以撤销旅行社准证作为警告,严禁女导游被逼与男同事同房的事情再度发生。

目前,在执行上仍然面对旅行社依旧漠视部长指令及导游担心失去工作而不敢向旅游步执法组投报的情形,妇女组将继续跟进,以确保问题获得彻底解决。

3. 反对父母在皈依回教时单方面为孩子改换宗教

马华妇女组在监督政府进行《1976年婚姻离婚改革法令》的修正上扮演重要角色。主动和党内领袖及非政府组织针对修正案进行讨论,以确保非回教徒家庭、配偶、孩子与家庭成员的权利不会因为某一方半途皈依回教而受到影响。

4. 提升及捍卫大马外籍配偶与孩子的权益


拿汀巴杜卡周美芬颁发纪念品予出席交流的移民厅助理总监再迪(左三) Chew Mei Fun presenting a token of appreciation to En. Zaidi bin Yahya, Chief Assistant Director of Visa, Pass and Permit Division of Immigration Department. Looking on from left: Dato’ Michael Chong, Dato’ Leong Tang Chong, YB Senator Heng Seai Kie, Ms Fui K. Soong

200965日在马华政治策略研究中心的协助下召集各相关政府及非政府组织,包括移民厅、马华公共服务投诉局、外籍配偶援助团、民政党妇女组、全国妇女理事会、妇女援助机构、律师公会家庭法律小组委员会、隆雪华堂妇女组、马来西亚宝岛妇女协会,主办了《外籍配偶权利》研讨会,并在多次的会商与研讨后,综合各方意见草拟了备忘录!

备忘录重点提出相关法律漏洞,外籍夫妻所应享有的居住权、就业权及其孩子的权力等。马华妇女组在近期内将拜会内政部长,提呈备忘录。

1. Submission of "Memorandum on Promoting respect for women and upholding gender equality and non-discrimination in the Parliament and State Assemblies"

Prohibition on the use of sexist and gender discriminatory language in Parliament will be integrated into the existing Standing Orders upon the approval by the Dewan Rakyat following a Dewan Rakyat Proceedings Regulations Subcommittee meeting chaired by the Speaker;

The latest development is that the proposed amendments have been submitted to the Attorney General’s Chambers for review.

Commitment from the past President of the Dewan Negara YB Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr. Abdul Hamid Pawanteh to amend the Standing Orders to safeguard the image of the Parliament and the dignity of members of Parliament of both genders. We believe this amendment will soon materialize following the appointment of MCA Secretary General YB Senator Dato’ Wong Foon Meng as the new President of the Dewan Negara.

2. Protecting and Promoting rights of women tourist guides in Malaysia


The recognition of the Malaysian Women Tourist Guides Association as an autonomous body by the Ministry of Tourism following a letter dated 26 December 2008 issued by the Secretary-General, allowing its members to renew their licenses without being affiliated to the Malaysian Tourist Guide Council which had rejected their application as an affiliate member;

The stern policy announced by the Tourism Minister YB Dato’ Sri Dr. Ng Yen Yen that licenses of travel agencies will be revoked if they continue to require women tourist guide/tour leaders to share the same room with their male colleagues on over-night assignments;

However, travel agencies have not fully adhered to and implemented the policy as announced by the Minister of Tourism as tourist guides are reluctant to report to any incident of non-compliance to the enforcement authorities for fear of losing their job. In this respect, Wanita MCA will continue following up the issue to ensure that the matter is resolved.

3. Advocacy opposing unilateral conversion of children to Islam when one parent converts

Wanita MCA played an instrumental role in facilitating briefing and discussion between key party leaders and non-government organizations were on the proposed amendments to the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 deliberating to retain good proposed sections and recommend amendments to proposed sections which are not in favour of the non-converting spouse and their children. This initiative was to ensure that proposed amendments will not affect the rights of the non-converting spouse, children and family members when a spouse converts to Islam.

4. Promoting and Protecting Rights of Non-citizen spouses of Malaysian and their children

A memorandum outlining key challenges; gaps in laws, policies and administrative procedures and recommendation on the right to stay, right to work and rights of children to a non-citizen parent will be presented to the Minister of Home Affairs. The memorandum is an outcome from the Forum/ Workshop on non-citizen spouses of Malaysian and their children which was held on 5 June 2009 and participated by the Foreign Spouse Support Group (FSSG), Wanita Section of Parti Gerakan and non-governmental organisations such as National Council of Women’s Organisations (NCWO), Women’s Aid Organisation, Family Law Sub-committee of the Bar Council, The Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, Formosa Women Organisation of Malaysia. Subsequent to the forum/workshop, the drafting committee met several times to fine tune the final draft Memorandum prior to circulating to the participants for comments and feedback.

The memorandum highlights the legal loopholes, the rights of residence, employments of non-citizen spouses, and the rights of their children. Wanita MCA will meet the Minister of Home Affairs soon to present the memorandum.

计划 1 - 在近期内规划研讨与提呈的议题 Issues in the pipeline which will be taken up in the near future:

(1) 日间托儿所

马华妇女组将召集托儿所业者与相关之非政府组织开会,探讨如何促使各县市议会简化及划一设立托儿所条规与征收过高执照费的问题,建议在新发展的地区保留土地设立或建立托儿所,从根源解决目前托儿所不足,家庭过度依赖外籍女佣的社会问题。

待备忘录完成后,将连同各州/区内的托儿所业者,向县市议会提呈建议,以促成目标 。

(2) 落实女性占决策层30%的政策

我们将向党中央领导层重申女性在党内及中央决策层代表权偏低的问题。

我们建议从党内开始改变,在党内及全国大选候选人、中央立法机构、州级或地方上各级代表落实女性占至少30%的目标,以确认和奖励妇女对党的贡献。

(3) 雇主及外籍女佣的权益

我们计划与聘请外国女佣的雇主与女佣代理协会召开会议或研讨会,以商讨雇主、女佣与代理三方的权益,以确保我国外国女佣政策公平,没有偏颇!

(1) Day care centre

Premised on the objective to create a friendly environment to all child care operators, we will initiate a meeting with key stakeholders in the day care industry to discuss how district and municipal councils could simplify and standardize regulations governing child care centres, resolve the issue of exorbitant license fees imposed upon child care centres and reserve land in all new development areas for the setting up of child care centres. This initiative is hoped to address shortage of child care centres and to reduce the over-reliance on migrant domestic workers.

Upon completion of this Memorandum to relevant authorities, meetings will be organised with child care centre operators in all states to present to relevant district and municipal councils with recommendations on improving the current situation and ensuring prompt implementation of our recommendations.

(2) 30% Representation of Women at All Decision-making levels

We will reiterate for the party national leaders to respond to the strikingly low proportion of women in decision-making positions at all levels within the party and also at the national level.

We recommend that changes start from within in recognising and rewarding women’s contribution to the party through substantial representation (at least 30%) at decision-making structures within the party and national level as candidates for election or nomination to legislative bodies be it at the Federal, state or the local levels.

(3) Rights of Employers and Migrant Domestic Workers (MDW)

We will initiate a meeting/ forum with local employers who employ migrant domestic workers to collate issues and areas of concern in relation employers’ right on employing migrant domestic workers at the same time mindful of the rights of migrant domestic workers.

《反国会性别歧视言论备忘录》原文 MEMORANDUM

Promoting respect for women to uphold gender equality and non-discrimination in the Parliament and State Legislative Assemblies

I . INTRODUCTION

This memorandum is submitted by Wanita MCA and 12 women organizations.

We call for stern actions to be meted out against sexist elected representatives in the Parliament and State Legislative Assemblies and positive measures to create gender sensitivity amongst state legislators to promote respect for women and to uphold gender equality and non-discrimination in the State Legislative Assemblies.

We share a common vision of upholding the principle of substantive gender equality and non-discrimination on the basis of gender through the promotion of women’s human rights. We note with grave concern that the occurrences of sexist, derogatory and gender-insensitive remarks uttered by elected representatives continue to persist. We are concerned that such high level of tolerance against sexism and gender discrimination in the Parliament and the State Legislative Assemblies is greatly attributed to the lack of or inadequacy of policies or guidelines governing decorum of elected representatives, whether in their

substance (existence of such clause prohibiting any forms of gender discrimination),

structures (interpretation and application) or

culture (beliefs and prejudices perpetuating sexism and gender discrimination).

We have been monitoring sexist behaviours of elected representatives and in particular the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) comprising women’s rights groups has been monitoring closely the debates in Parliament since the late 1990s. Until now, no Member of the Parliament and State Legislative Assemblies who made sexist and discriminatory remarks has been punished by the august House.

Firstly, sexist and offensive language used by members of the highest legislative body in the country reflects blatant disrespect to women and disregard for the decorum of the august House. Secondly, the lack of sanctions or rather the absence of some form of punitive measures seemingly condones sexist behaviours of elected members in the Parliament and State Legislative Assemblies in particular and in general that sexist remarks towards women are acceptable. This is further compounded by the support by other elected members or state office bearers either in defense (active support) or silence (passive support) towards sexist behaviour of elected members which reinforces discrimination against women. Support whether actively or passively by other elected members or society in general contributes to the creation of an enabling condition conducive for discriminatory behaviours and practices against women resulting in unjust and unfair treatment towards elected women representatives and also women in general.

We would like to remind that Malaysia has made several commitments which uphold the principle of gender equality and non-discrimination on the basis of gender. At the national level, amendment to Article 8(2) of the Federal Constitution which prohibits any forms of discrimination against any person on the basis of gender is a clear testament to promoting gender equality locally. At the global front, Malaysia, a signatory to the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) since 1995, has an obligation to uphold principle of gender equality and non-discrimination on the basis of gender.

As such, the sexist and discriminatory remarks made by anyone including legislators of the Parliament and State Legislative Assemblies are unconstitutional1 contravening Article 8(2) of the Federal Constitution. Given that elected representatives were voted in to represent all sections of society, such sexist behaviour of some elected representatives in both the Parliament and State Legislative Assemblies in effect undermines the government’s commitment both at the national and international levels in promoting gender equality and non-discrimination on the grounds of gender.

II. EXAMPLES OF SEXIST REMARKS AND RESPONSES TO SEXIST REMARKS

Sexist remarks uttered in Parliament and State Assembly have received more attention from the media in the last two years than before. However, condescending, and insulting comments and lewd language about women were hurled as early as 1995 in the Parliament2 and State Assembly.

The following are examples of sexist remarks/ behaviour over the years in the Parliament and one State Assembly, extracted from various sources. Table 1 (refer Appendix A*) illustrates a wide range of sexist and discriminatory comments as produced by Joint Action Group (JAG) on Gender Equality in their “Vote for a Sexism-Free Parliament” leaflet namely:-

a. Insulting comments about women’s bodies and their biological functions

b. Comparisons of women to inanimate objects

c. Sexual innuendos and double entendres

d. Patronising remarks on women being “emotional” and likening women to children

e. Commenting on women’s marital status as a put down

f. Blaming women for sexual crimes perpetrated by men

g. Blaming women for men’s justification on polygamy

We would also like to highlight those secondary responses to the sexist remarks which not only reflect the high level of tolerance for such discriminatory behaviours but also continue to perpetuate sexism in the Parliament and State Legislative Assemblies. Some of the statements by other elected representatives in response to sexist remarks which were compiled by Malaysiakini, 15 May 2007 are reproduced in Table 2 (refer Appendix B*).
* Note: Due to space constraint, we regret that Appendix A and B could not be published here.

III. RECOMMENDATION

We reiterate numerous calls made by various groups and individuals who are committed towards ending sexism and gender discrimination at all levels, in urging and demanding that the Minister in the Prime Minister department in-charge of Parliamentarian Affairs, Speakers of the Upper and Lower House, Speakers of State Legislative Assemblies and all elected representative in both the Parliament and State Assemblies to view sexism and gender discrimination seriously and to take immediate measures to end sexism and gender discrimination in the Parliament and State Legislative Assemblies.

We propose that the State Legislative Assemblies adopt the following measures to address sexist and unparliamentarily behaviour of elected representatives:

1) Punitive Measures against sexist elected representatives in State Legislative Assemblies

Amend Section 36(6) (b) of Parliamentary Standing Order/ related section(s) in respective Standing Orders of State Legislative Assemblies

To amend related section(s) in respective Standing Orders of State Legislative Assemblies to include prohibition of sexist and abusive remarks and/ or behaviour to any other member of the House.

And failure in adhering to this Order shall result in suspension between two to six months without allowances4 or any other order deemed appropriate.

Implement Code of Ethics (for members of Parliament and State Legislative Assemblies)

To implement a set of Code of Ethics of the Parliament and State Legislative Assemblies which include prohibition of sexist and discriminatory remark/ behaviour towards another member of the House.

To encourage elected members to adhere by the Code of Ethics in addition to Standing Orders.

Heavier Penalty on Repeat Offenders

To impose a heavier penalty on elected representatives who utter sexist remarks and/ or behave in a discriminatory manner on the basis of gender

2. Positive Measures to cultivate sensitivity of all elected members in the Parliament and State Legislative Assemblies

a) Orientation for all elected representatives

To conduct orientation for all elected representatives including women to be familiarized with the Standing Orders and Code of Ethics which are intolerant against sexist remarks and/or behaviours of elected representatives.

b) Compulsory Gender Sensitivity Courses for all elected members in State Legislative Assemblies

To conduct regular gender awareness training for all elected members to inculcate gender sensitivity on mannerism in the august House, thus refraining from making sexist and derogatory remarks and also to have a gender perspective on bills and laws which they legislate.

Note: Recently in December 2008, our Parliamentarian representative attended the Inter-parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) meeting in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam and consensus was reached by AIPA members to conduct orientation for their respective Parliamentarian to enhance professional proficiency.

c) Stern warning at the beginning of each session on the prohibition of any sexist language/ behaviour

Speaker of respective State Legislative Assemblies to remind elected members to observe decorum and that sexist and derogatory remarks are intolerable and punishable under amended Standing Orders and Code of Ethics which include prohibition sexist and discriminatory remark/ behaviour towards another member of the House.

With this memorandum, we hope that the state government would look into this matter seriously and have the political will to take necessary action to uphold the principle of gender equality and non-discrimination as enshrined in Article 8 of our Federal Constitution.