Updated: Apr 12
Parliament made history when the Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill 2021 was passed
Following a vote on July 20, 2022, Dewan Rakyat has decided to move on with the passage of a bill that will make it possible to enact laws protecting both men and women from sexual harassment.
And the law is for all Malaysians, as it covers all individuals irrespective of gender,
Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rina Harun stated in the Parliament that "it is an indication of the commitment of the government to prevent sexual harassment among the genders."
Under the Bill, an offender will not only be compelled to apologise to the victim but will also be ordered to make restitution for any losses that the victim incurred as a result of the offence.
If the sexual harassment occurred in public, the perpetrator will be obliged to issue an apology in front of the entire community.
Businesses are required to exhibit Anti-Sexual Harassment Posters or Materials or Notices
Datuk Seri Rina also mentioned that businesses will be compelled to exhibit anti-sexual harassment posters or materials or notices in the workplace. She claimed this will be a requirement.
The Government has also agreed to increase the penalty for employers who fail to manage incidences of sexual harassment in the workplace from RM10,000 to RM50,000," she continued.
In line with the United Nations Convention
Rina reported to the House that efforts to implement laws against sexual harassment began in 2011, and after a series of engagement sessions, the proposed law was eventually tabled in Dewan Rakyat on December 15, 2021.
According to her, the proposed law is in line with the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (Cedaw) and Article 8 of the Federal Constitution on gender equality.
Sexual Harassment Defined
The proposed definition of “sexual harassment” in the Bill includes the following elements:
Any unwanted conduct of a sexual nature.
The conduct can be in any form. This includes conduct which is:
The conduct must be directed at a person.
Reasonably offensive or humiliating / threat to his well-being.
Despite the fact that this definition is written in a way that leaves room for interpretation, it appears that there are boundaries to what can be considered "sexual harassment."
For instance, offensive behaviour that is not directed at a specific person may not be within the scope of the definition provided by the statute.
The presence of consent may render claims of "unwanted conduct" invalid.
Employment (Amendment) Act 2022
It is essential to ensure the well-being of one's workforce by providing a secure atmosphere in which they can perform their jobs.
This will help to keep morale and engagement levels high in the workplace. If an employer makes an effort to ensure that their workers are physically and mentally at ease, they will experience increased happiness and productivity.
Employment (Amendment) Act 2022 introduces a new section which requires employers to conspicuously exhibit a notice to raise awareness of sexual harassment in the workplace.
Anti-Sexual Harassment Notice - 1
Anti-Sexual Harassment Notice - 2
Sexual Harassment Complaint Form - 1
Sexual Harassment Complaint Form - 2
Sexual Harassment Complaint Form - 3
Sexual Harassment Complaint Form - 4