A brand new 12 months and a brand new authorities. Hope and expectations are excessive that the unity authorities will deal with gaps in insurance policies and companies that concern girls, kids and additionally the aged. These teams make up greater than half the inhabitants however are, in lots of respects, not being safeguarded.
Passing of latest legal guidelines
One of the pressing issues than wants consideration is the passing of the anti-stalking invoice which was tabled for the second and third studying and handed within the Dewan Rakyat in October. However, due to the dissolution of parliament due to the fifteenth General Elections, the invoice was not handed.
Hopefully, our new lawmakers will see the urgency of passing this invoice – and addressing any shortcomings in it – as quickly as potential. According to a research by Women’s Aid Organisation, 36% of Malaysians had skilled stalking, with victims usually residing in worry. Some 12% have been threatened, whereas 17% have suffered accidents.
Last month, Women’s Aid Organisation advocacy director Abinaya Mohan expressed hope that the newly minted minister would look into closing current gaps in safety for ladies from violence and bolstering initiatives to enhance gender equality. She hoped the ministry would with grassroots and civil society organisations who’re already doing work on gender equality, girls and kids’s rights.
Another laws that hopefully might be handed in 2023 is the regulation safeguarding the rights and properly-convey of senior residents. Malaysia might be an aged nation by 2050 when the variety of individuals above 65 years previous will comprise greater than 15% of the inhabitants and a standalone act that appears into the wants and the rights of the aged is essential.
Gerontologist and advocate for seniors, Lily Fu highlighted the necessity for extra consideration to be paid for seniors by the federal government. The Budget 2023, she mentioned in a letter to The Star lately, must allocate “a sizeable sum” to handle the wants of the nation’s ageing inhabitants.
“The nationwide price range solely allocates crumbs to our senior residents yearly. There are guarantees made that look good on paper and sound candy in speeches, however the truth stays that the aged is a a lot-neglected group,” she mentioned.
Apart from legistlation, an inter-ministerial company for the ageing inhabitants must be set as much as push for the wants and rights of older individuals, which incorporates provision of accessible, inexpensive lengthy-time period care centres, significantly for seniors with no household or monetary help.
Currently, there are solely two authorities-run ones in entire nation, she highlighted, including that although there are over 100 seniors exercise centres (Pusat Activiti Warga Emas or PAWE) all through Malaysia, “most individuals aren’t conscious of it and there isn’t a lot exercise on the centres”.
Women and kids
The organising of the Anti-Sexual Harassment Tribunal, underneath the newly handed Anti-Sexual Harassment Act can even be one thing to stay up for this 12 months.
Although the Budget 2023 will have to be tabled and handed once more, there may be hope that the organising of gender focal groups for every ministry and company which was within the Budget 2023 that was tabled by the final authorities might be retained.
Such groups are important in ensuring that each one insurance policies and programmes by all ministries – not simply the Women’s Ministry – are gender responsive, intersectional and inclusive.
The low Female Labour Force Participation Rates (LFPR) (Malaysia has one of many lowest charges within the area) additionally must be addressed. One of the primary causes girls leaving the workforce is due to the unpaid care work they should do at residence. This is primarily caring for his or her kids and aged relations.
Addressing this – by investing in additional free or inexpensive childcare centres in areas that want it most – is one thing that needs to be addressed. This has to go hand in hand with the availability of programmes to upskill girls to extend their participation within the workforce.
Gender based mostly violence, which rose throughout the pandemic when name traces acquired greater than triple the variety of misery calls, is one other space that wants consideration from the federal government. More help for non-authorities organisations which are skilled to reply to girls and kids at risk must be amped up.
Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa introduced her Ministry’s plans to supply free sanitary pads to underprivileged girls and ladies as a part of its efforts to fight interval poverty. This is a constructive step as the primary Kotex Period Poverty and Stigma research revealed that one in two feminine college students needed to skip college throughout menstruation. The research which concerned some 750 ladies aged 10 to 24 nationwide additionally indicated that 5% of ladies couldn’t afford sanitary pads.
Another vital concern that wants some decision is the rights of Malaysian moms’ to confer their citizenship on kids born overseas to overseas spouses.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution has vowed to present precedence to the difficulty, saying that his ministry will look into the matter from each facet, together with the Constitution, current legal guidelines, and the ideas of humanity.
“It will surely be one of my main focuses. The matter will definitely need my consideration and decision. But for the time being, I can confirm it is on the ministry’s main agenda,” he informed reporters final month.