Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill tabled in Parliament

 pic by BERNAMA

THE Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill 2021, which among others, is for the setting up of a tribunal to handle sexual harassment complaints, was tabled for first reading in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

The tribunal, known as the Anti-Sexual Harassment Tribunal, requires its members including the president and deputy president be appointed from among members of the judicial and legal services.

The bill provides the tribunal, the jurisdiction to hear and determine the sexual harassment complaints made by any individual.

The tribunal also has the authority to order the respondent to issue a statement of apology to the complainant in whatever way as stated in the order.

In addition, the tribunal can issue an order for the respondent to pay for whatever compensation or damages not exceeding RM250,000 for any loss or damage suffered by the victim of sexual harassment.

The tribunal can also issue an order for the parties to attend any programme deemed fit by the tribunal.

The bill was tabled by Deputy Minister of Women, Family and Community Development Datuk Siti Zailah Mohd Yusoff (picture) for first reading.

At a media conference in the Parliament building, Siti Zailah said among the important elements introduced in the bill was the broader application of the law regardless of whether the offence occurred at the workplace or anywhere else while compensation for the victims would be through suitable remedies.

“This bill is an important manifestation of sexual harassment as a human rights violation and gender-based violence.

“I hope the bill can raise public awareness of sexual harassment and against normalising it, hence contributing to a safe environment for society, especially women,” she said.

Meanwhile, Minister of Home Affairs Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin tabled the Offenders’ Compulsory Attendance (Amendment) Bill 2021 for the first reading.

The bill, among others, is aimed at replacing subsection 5 (1) of the Offenders’ Compulsory Attendance Act 1954, with the proposal that the court be given the authority to order compulsory attendance on individuals convicted of offences punishable with imprisonment not exceeding three years. — Bernama