KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 21 – Senior officials of the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry (KPWKM) have participated in an engagement session on the Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill 2021.
KPKWM said constructive criticisms and suggestions would be taken into account to improve the frequently asked questions (FAQ) section on the Bill.
“The Ministry plans to continue sessions like these from time to time and to expand them to more parties to increase public understanding on the importance of the Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill,” said KPWKM on its Facebook page yesterday.
The ministry also invited the public to give feedback on the Bill through its website.
According to the FAQ, the Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill seeks to provide redress to sexual harassment victims through a Tribunal for Anti-Sexual Harassment. The Bill was tabled for first reading in the Dewan Rakyat last December 15.
Section 7 of the Bill states that the Tribunal shall have jurisdiction to hear and determine any complaint of sexual harassment made by any person.
Section 8 states that the Tribunal will not have jurisdiction over complaints of sexual harassment if court proceedings commenced prior, if the complaints involve any conduct constituting a crime, or if the complaints before the Tribunal were withdrawn or struck out.
The Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) previously said that the Bill should have a more comprehensive definition of sexual harassment to include “harassment that creates a hostile environment in general”. The Bill currently defines sexual harassment as “unwanted conduct of a sexual nature, in any form…directed at a person”.
WAO also said the Anti-Sexual Harassment Tribunal should only order sexual harassment complainants to attend any programmes with their consent.
The Bill, said WAO, should also mandate organisational commitment to prevent, address, and create organisational awareness about sexual harassment.