Thursday, January 8, 2009


Joint Press Statement by Wanita MCA and
Malaysian Women Tourist Guides Association (MWTGA)
Create Safe and Enabling Work Environment for Women Tourist Guides
Renewal of License for members of MWTGA
Wanita MCA and MWTGA are gravely disappointed with the Malaysia Tour Guide Council (MTGC) for rejecting MWTGA’s application for an affiliation on the grounds of gender. MWTGA persistently attempted to affiliate with MTGC in an effort to fulfil one of the criteria required by the Ministry of Tourism for renewal of license. However, the restrictions set by the MTGC as requirement for affiliation resulted in the halting of renewal of license by members of MWTGA.

Fortunately with the support from the Ministry of Tourism under the leadership of Dato’ Sri Azalina Othman, an official letter was issued by the Secretary General of the Ministry of Tourism confirming the independent status of MWTGA which enables members of MWTGA to renew their license without having to fulfil the requirement of being an affiliate with the MTGC. Thus, this formal recognition of MWTGA by the Ministry of Tourism provides an immediate resolution to the issue of renewal of license for members of MWTGA.

Although the issue of renewal of license is resolved with the recognition of MWTGA as an autonomous body by the Ministry of Tourism, however, we would like to stress that MTGC’s rejection of MWTGA’s application for affiliation with MTGC is unreasonable and unconstitutional. As such, we would like to highlight parts of a letter dated 1 July 2008 received by MWTGA on 17 September 2008 from MTGC rejecting MWTGA’s application for an affiliation which are expressly gender discriminatory:

(1) “that Clause of the MTGC constitution, consideration for such affiliation can be granted only to a geographical region such as State or Federal Territory without a tourist guide association currently affiliated to the council.”

(2) “rejection of ‘gender segregation’ that MTGC as a umbrella body for the tourist guiding profession do not promote or encourage the element of “gender segregation” as MTGC is a ‘profession-based’ organisation and not otherwise as a ‘social’ body with the practice of isolating a single gender into a group.”

Given that the above grounds provided by MTGC in response to MWTGA’s application for an affiliation are expressly discriminatory on the basis of gender and unconstitutional contravening Article 8(2) of the Federal Constitution which prohibits any form of discrimination on the basis of gender, we seek an official apology from the MTGC for having caused duress to MWTGA members.

We would also like to take this opportunity to highlight to the general public that no one should be discriminated on the grounds of gender as stipulated under Article 8(2) of the Federal Constitution.

Room Sharing between Genders
It is commendable that the Ministry of Tourism issued a circular early last year which served as a warning to all licensed tour agents to address the issue of room-sharing between genders. However, it appears that the circular was ineffective. In fact, subsequent to the circular, women tourist guides were compelled to sign formal documents consenting to share room with male colleagues and failing which, they risk losing assignments.

Wanita MCA and MWTGA are pleased with the receptiveness of the Ministry of Tourism in agreeing to find alternative solution to this issue of room-sharing between genders. The Secretary General has agreed to call for a meeting with all tour operators to resolve this issue effectively and amicably.

In tandem with Malaysia’s commitment both at the global and local front as signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the amendment of Article 8(2) respectively which prohibit discrimination based on gender, Wanita MCA and MWTGA strongly urge all relevant parties to take positive measures such as the following to provide an enabling environment for women, in this particular case, women tourist guides:

(i) Tour/ Travel agency to strictly adhere to the circular issued by the Ministry of Tourism on the issue of room-sharing between genders
(ii) Hoteliers to provide separate dormitories according to gender (as practised in other countries such as Vietnam, China, Cambodia, Thailand and Indonesia and Japan)

Finally, Wanita MCA and MWTGA urge all women tourist guides to join MWTGA as a united front to represent rights and interests of women tourist guides. Let us all work together, as Wanita MCA and MWTGA will continue to advocate for a safe, conducive and friendly working environment for all women tourist guides through resolving the issue of room-sharing between genders.

7th Jan 2009

1 comment:

kim said...

Room sharing with male driver is the practice till today especially among the chinese speaking guides. Some companies even when to the extend of defending the need to give priority to the driver over female guide over allocation of room.

There are times the female guides have to pay for her own room.

Imagining getting less than the stipulated guide fee (sometime no guide fee) and have to pay administrative fee to get assignment and then finance the travel agencies in the form of paying for the tourist meals. driver meals (on demand by the drivers or better known as the pimp on the move), driver allowances.

Claims? Wait for next 4 -5 months if lucky.

Is this working arrangement denotes gender equality of the highest standard after 52 years of independence?

Beats me!!