Women workers in Malaysia bamboozled by backdoor politicking of new regime

Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor (PSWS), a women workers’ CSO, condemns the ugly and undemocratic manner in which a coup was orchestrated by politicians of the ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) government, that has brought the running of this nation under a new regime to a grinding halt and cheated thousands of women working in Malaysia of legal and structural reforms that would have led to better livelihood, security against sexual harassment, improvements to bridge the gender wage gap and even better access to justice.

With the commencement of the first parliament sitting of 2020, CSOs working to progress women’s rights in the country were looking forward to the tabling of Bills and policy making designed to effectively address sexual harassment, gender based violence and gender discrimination in the country, with the long awaited Sexual Harassment Bill promising to become enactment this year.

Now, we are uncertain if parliament will convene in March 2020 as scheduled and the future of this government remains uncertain with the abrupt resignation of the Prime Minister.

The breakdown of this government midway into their five-year term, by the shameful actions of a few irresponsible leaders, greedy for power will affect the millions of women workers in this country including migrant workers, who struggle to put decent food on the table, to earn a living wage and to live with dignity.

We view them as debonair saboteurs of dignity of women who have frustrated the progression of many, much needed changes in the laws, institutions, living standards and moves toward a balanced ethno-religious relationship that has been making headway for almost two years now.

This is a betrayal of PH’s promises to which women workers have been counting on. Women in Malaysia had pinned their faith on this new regime for an equal share of the economy, with labour laws amended to give women better access to justice and improved work life situations that are no longer doomed to be precarious that keeps them vulnerable to all kinds of exploitation.

Women workers in the formal and informal economies struggle to keep themselves and their families healthy. They also face an insecure future without security benefits for their golden years. The PH government has made many U-turns on their promises and we shudder to think what the future holds for us, women.

The PH government was put in power by the rakyat and rightly, they should not betray this trust and must continue the process of change still needed for this country to compete and strive for an esteemed nationhood.

We call for:

  • The immediate resignation of the rogue politicians who have crippled the smooth running of this new regime
  • Immediate elections to restore harmony in the PH government and in investor’s confidence and to better serve the nation as a united front.

press release, PSWS

Our vision is for a society that is built on equality and justice for all regardless of their class and gender.