Withdrawal of appeal a boost for women's rights

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Wanita MCA welcomes the decision by the Malaysian government and the Education Ministry to withdraw its appeal against the decision made by the High Court that pregnant women should not be discriminated from seeking employment.

This decision shows that our country has made another historic step forward in ensuring women’s rights. The High Court’s original ruling in 2011 has sent a clear and definite message that pregnant women are entitled to their right to work and equal employment opportunities as enshrined in the federal constitution. As such, employers are now responsible for treating their employees equally regardless of race or gender, and even pregnancy.

In 1995, Malaysia had ratified the United Nation Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (Cedaw). As one of the signatories of this convention, our government had implemented various laws to protect women’s rights in all fields such be it in politics, legal, work, education, health services, business activities, family relationships and other related aspects.

However, it is sad to note that many women are still forced to choose between their career and their families once they get married. This is even more so for women with school-going children, as some workplaces do not have nurseries or childcare centres in their vicinity. Thus, many women were forced to opt out of their jobs in desperation.

Wanita MCA sincerely believes that women are a vital component in the development of our nation’s economy and social well-being. Therefore, should there be a huge absence of women within our workforce, there would be a huge gap in our talent market.

As such, we strongly urge the government to take this matter seriously and work towards implementing methods to encourage more women to re-enter the workforce in both the public and private sectors. Incentives such as setting up nurseries in workplaces will allow women to maintain a healthy balance in their work and family life.

In pursuing such strategic improvements, we will be able to allow many women to further develop and improve in their careers.

YU CHOK TOW is chairperson of Wanita MCA.

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