Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) applauds the Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Dr. Mahatir Mohammad, for his commitment to end discrimination against women, by his move to incorporate “sex” into Article 8(2) of the Federal Constitution.
The Federal Constitution is the supreme law of Malaysia, and any law passed has to be consistent with its provisions. Therefore, by incorporating “sex” as a ground of discrimination, women’s rights will be authoritatively protected as a fundamental liberty under this enshrined document. With this, it is hoped that other laws that currently discriminates against women will be revised in congruence with the amending of the Constitution. There is indeed a pressing need to look into laws relating to citizenship, family, domestic violence, foreign domestic workers, rape and sexual harassment.
The government needs to develop holistic and multi-disciplinary strategies to prevent and eliminate all forms of discrimination against women. Therefore, it is critical that legislations, policies and attitudes reiterate that women and men are equal in all spheres of life; the private, the public, the economic, the social, the political and the cultural. This includes recognising the fact that it is both the husband’s and the wife’s responsibility to educate and nurture their children.
The recognition of equal rights in the Federal Constitution will be in line with the provisions of International Treaties that Malaysia has ratified to, including the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Again, WAO would like to commend the Government and the Ministry of Women and Family Development for this positive move.