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Anti-Sexual Harassment Tribunal To Start Hearing Cases By Year End

Nancy Shukri said there was an overwhelming response to the nationwide series of roadshows organised by KPWKM to raise awareness about the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act and the tribunal.

Minister of Women, Family and Community Development Nancy Shukri at a press conference following the launch of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and 16 Days of Activism 2023 last Friday. Photo from KPWKM Facebook post dated November 25, 2023.

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 27 – The anti-sexual harassment tribunal is expected to begin operating no later than end of December this year, according to Minister of Women, Family and Community Development Nancy Shukri.

Speaking during a press conference following the launch of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and 16 Days of Activism 2023 last Friday, Nancy said her ministry (KPWKM) has acquired a premise for the tribunal that is currently undergoing renovation.

“While waiting for that, we will be operating it from our ministry in Putrajaya.”

The minister said that the full appointment of the members of the tribunal is also still pending including the role of president and deputy president, which will be appointed by the attorney-general.

According to the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act 2022, the president and deputy president must be appointed from amongst the members of the judicial and legal service.

The tribunal shall also comprise not less than five other members consisting of persons who are members of or who have held office in the judicial and legal service, as well as advocates and solicitors who have been in practice for no less than seven years.

Other members of the tribunal will be determined by the minister, based on their knowledge and practical experience in dealing with sexual harassment issues.

Additionally, KPWKM has been given approval to employ 20 personnel for the tribunal who are still being interviewed, according to Nancy.

“So, all this is in the process but we hope that we will be starting before January,” she said.

Since July this year, KPWKM has organised 14 series of roadshows to raise awareness about the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act and the tribunal.

 “The response was overwhelming because when we first started, we had a crowd of less than 300. So, we just finished the 14th one two days ago on the 19th of November where we had an audience of up to 3,000,” said the minister.

She observed that interest has been particularly keen among young people. “The questions that you get from young people are different. (Initially) you see some of them were not keen to open up but when they heard others starting to open up, then they started asking us questions related to their university and workplace, so it is a good sign for us because the awareness is already there.”

The minister said she looked forward to getting more unexpected questions as the roadshows hopefully continue as they could inform and improve her ministry’s initiatives.

While the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act allows victims or complainants to pursue a remedy through a civil case, Nancy pointed out that there were also options for them to seek justice through criminal law such as the Sexual Offences Against Children Act or other relevant sections of the Penal Code.

Parliament passed the Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill in July and August last year.

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