JAG wants immediate Parliament sitting, eyes long-delayed sexual harassment bill

·1-min read
JAG wants immediate Parliament sitting, eyes long-delayed sexual harassment bill
JAG wants immediate Parliament sitting, eyes long-delayed sexual harassment bill

The Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) has joined the chorus in calling for the government to immediately set in motion the reconvening of Parliament.

Apart from the Covid-19 pandemic, JAG hopes that the sitting can also deal with the Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill which have been delayed for so long since 2019 - first due to the Sheraton Move, Budget 2021 and then the emergency which suspended the legislature.

JAG said women were more impacted by the pandemic with increased domestic violence, limited support services during the lockdown, childcare time and lay-offs.

"It is the duty of the government to thoroughly discuss the pandemic's impact and the best ways to address the gender inequality in Parliament," it said.

It also called for stalking to be criminalised under the penal code.

Furthermore, JAG called for changes to the Employment Act 1955 to include a seven-day paternity leave which was proposed in 2019 but also had yet to be acted upon.

Other amendments to the act, it said, should include extending maternity leaves to 98 days and introducing anti-discrimination provisions such as preventing employers from terminating an employee on grounds of pregnancy.

"Apart from legal reforms, JAG hopes the government can play an active role in creating a cross-ministerial public consultation mechanism.

"There is a need for the government to hear directly about women's needs," it said.

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