3. Healthcare, Social Security, and Legal Rights
Malaysia scores well in health equality too. Women live as healthily as men, have equal access to healthcare services, deliver babies safely, and there’s a nicely even sex ratio of babies born.
In terms of social issues, both parties share similar sentiments on sexual harassment and improved legal rights, but that’s where the similarity ends. Having recently drawn criticism for their neglect of social issues such as female genital mutilation, child marriage, and domestic abuse, it is disappointing to see that BN has not raised solutions to these admittedly thorny issues – unlike the opposition.
- Enacting the Sexual Harassment Act to protect victims from sexual harassment.
- Encouraging the private sector to allow pregnant mothers to leave work an hour early.
- Establishing a Special Court Council on Marriage, Custody (‘Hadhanah’) and Maintenance (‘Nafkah’), beginning in the Wilayah Persekutuan Syariah Court, to hasten the hearing and resolution of cases.
- Establishing dedicated service counters for women and welfare aid recipients at all Urban Transformation Centres (UTC) and Rural Transformation Centres (RTC).
- Implementing a Universal Child Care policy by developing a curriculum, inclusive programmes and nutritious food guidelines, besides training professional childcare personnel.
- Establishing the National Drugs Institute as a one-stop service centre for the rehabilitation of drug-addicts as well as a research centre for drug abuse.
- Create awareness and special training programmes to address women’s mental health problems such as depression
- Introduce women’s health education programmes such as awareness of healthy lifestyle and other relevant activities.
- Improve reproductive health awareness programmes among women of all ages so that they can protect themselves and their families from risks.
- Implement an awareness campaign for cervical and breast cancer prevention, as well as ensuring women attend mammogram and pap smear screening in government hospitals.
- Establish a local service centre as a referral place for women to seek advice to resolve any issues they may face.
- Ensure urban and rural planning takes into account the safety of women and girls.
- Introducing the EPF scheme for housewives. A 2 percent monthly contribution will be channelled from their husband’s EPF contributions, which is considered non-burdensome.
- Ensure employers attend regular training so that they are aware of sexual harassment at workplace and how to tackle it.
- Establish Family Law Improvement Committee with the aim of amending the law on divorce, maintenance and child custody, to ensure a more efficient and fairer solution to women.
- Introduce a law that sets 18 as the minimum age of marriage.
- Review all laws relating to gender equality to ensure that every woman enjoys legal equality.
- Introduce Sexual Harassment Bill to stop sexual harassment at all levels.