Johor’s former State Tourism, Women, Family and Community Development Exco, Liow Cai Tung condemned the recent rise of sexual harassment and cyberbullying that has resulted to the suicide of a young woman in Johor Bahru. The assemblywoman of Johor Jaya in her press statement said sexual harassment is a form of sexual action not only physically but also verbal towards a specific person and it should be condemned and taken seriously.
“Taking action against sexual harassment should not be restricted by the government or non-governmental organisations only. Support from family, friends and the community is also an important factor,” said Cai Tung.
She also encourages family members and friends of sexual harassment or cyberbullying victims to help amplify the victims’ voice to avoid recurring event of tragedies. The abusive behaviour in cyberspace is mainly done by irresponsible social media users, and the lack of enforcement legal-wise has given the bullies a sense that they could escape responsibilities with concealed identity.
Cai Tung calls for the government to prioritise the introduction of legislation in dealing with online sexual harassment citing the Public Service Department (JPA)’s Circular 5/2018, “Guidelines for Handling Sexual Harassment at Work” to protect victims of sexual harassment at work in 2018.
In October 2019, Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) has drafted a guideline for anti-sexual harassment and memorandum to the previous government, which was led by former Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail in which she has addressed that a Sexual Harassment Bill (RUU) that would protect women’s rights and preserve respect for women which would’ve have been tabled in Parliament in March 2020.
Cai Tung hopes for the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development to prioritise sexual harassment cum cyberbullying issue of this nature, and to act on the bill swiftly as it would help protect victims and overturn the culture of gender inequality.