Friday, June 19, 2009

[你怎么说] -谈“儿童受虐”课题


受邀出席RTM1[你怎么说]现场直播节目 (7/6/2009, 2pm)

Wanita MCA slams Hadi over SIS ban

The Star News: Thursday June 18, 2009

PETALING JAYA: Wanita MCA chief Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun has criticised PAS president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang for insisting that Sisters in Islam is not qualified to discuss Syariah laws.

“Hadi’s obstinacy reflects his prima donna disposition that only he is qualified to discuss such issues. Such sheer arrogance from Hadi shows that he is an extreme and conservative-minded person,” she said in a press statement here yesterday.

She said Hadi was adamant that the non-governmental group was not qualified even when Shah Alam PAS chief Khalid Samad had admitted that his division had made a mistake in wording the motion to ban SIS and that it would send a letter to PAS headquarters to clarify the matter.

“Hadi even questioned the professionalism and validity of SIS,” she said, adding that this showed that Hadi was autocratic in his actions and mindset.

She urged Malaysians to look clearly into PAS’ real motives in calling for the ban as its actions clearly showed that it continued to discriminate against women.

“PAS has clearly drifted away from its election manifesto of PAS for All,” she said.

Chew said that denying SIS the right to put forward their views not only violated human rights but also contradicted the PAS slogan to uphold democracy and respect people’s views.

“In a democratic society, everyone has a right to express his views freely, For example, before legislating any law, we have to gather professional views from all parties and debate them in Parliament. Only then are we able to come out with effective laws that will suit the needs of society.

“Even after Parliament has approved amendments or enactments of new Acts, different judges have different interpretations,” she said.

Asian women entrepreneurs network set up

The Star News : Friday June 19, 2009
TheStarOnline.tv: http://thestaronline.tv/v/3615
More women choose business as career

KUALA LUMPUR: A business network has been established to combine the forces of women entrepreneurs within Asia.

The Asia Women Business Network will help women entrepreneurs get support, networking and access into markets throughout the region.

Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha, who is also MCA Technology Development Council chairman, said the network would foster closer collaboration among women entrepreneurs using technology, country-to-country marketing network and entrepreneurial development programmes.

“It is time that you take the opportunity to do business with other countries in Asia as trade liberalisation and technology are breaking down barriers for businesses to go global.

“The network is a good start to expanding your business beyond the shore,” he said when launching the programme at the 1st Asia Women Business Power Conference here yesterday.

Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun said the women’s role had evolved and shifted away from the traditional domains of home to areas where they contributed hugely to the country’s economic growth.

“Women are emerging as a significant economic force in the country and today, they are progressively venturing into the small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

“About 16% of SME companies, mainly in services, manufacturing and agricultural sectors, are owned by women,” she said, adding that some 60,000 women-owned businesses were registered in Malaysia yearly.

Besides government programmes and grants to encourage women entrepreneurs, Chew said businesswomen could also turn to the Wanita MCA’s Women Development Entre­preneur Centre for help.

The centre located at Wisma MCA here would be in operation soon. Members of the network, which was initiated by the MCA ICT Resource Centre (MiRC), will also have access to services through its Asia Women Business Xchange portal.

For details on the network, visit www.wbx-ap.com.

周美芬:支持保障女傭福利‧僱主也應獲同等保護

星洲日報‧2009.06.18

(吉隆坡)馬華婦女組主席拿汀巴杜卡周美芬支持人力資源部修法保障女傭福利的建議,並強調絕不姑息虐待女傭的僱主。

同時,周美芬表示,婦女組將建議有關修法內容,以確保女傭服務的素質,讓勞資雙方獲得同等的保護。

她今日(週四,6月18日)發表文告說:“馬華婦女組將與人力資源部進行交流,以確保所草擬的修法在保障女傭福利之餘,也必須保障僱主的權益。新法案一旦推出,勞資雙方都必須獲得保護。”

虐傭不能以偏概全
她認為,有關虐待女傭的事件只牽涉部份的僱主,並不能以偏概全。儘管如此,婦女組決不姑息虐待女傭的僱主。同時,婦女組也絕對支持修法保障女傭,提高她們的福利,讓她們每週獲得一天的假期。

“婦女組也意識到僱主一方所面對的問題,如當發生女傭偷跑的事件,僱主將損失5000元的手續費,同時也會面對移民局罰款。此外,也曾發生一些不負責任的女傭中介所在女傭試用期完畢後,串通女傭潛逃,再把女傭介紹給另外的僱主。在這種情況下,必須要有法令保障僱主的權益。

“勞工法除了保障女傭的福利之餘,同時也必須增設相關的條文保障僱主的權利。如果有關女傭無法達到預期的表現,在未獲得僱主的批准下帶陌生人回家,偷竊等等,僱主應該擁有更換女傭的權利,雖然有關女傭試用期已滿。”

周美芬進一步指出,人力資源部必須確保外國女傭中介所給予女傭足夠的訓練,除了確保她們有一定的工作基本知識之餘,讓她們瞭解馬來西亞的文化習俗也是十分重要的。

周美芬:絕不姑息虐待女傭的僱主
星洲互動‧2009.06.18

(吉隆坡)馬華婦女組主席拿汀巴杜卡周美芬支持人力資源部修法保障女傭福利的建議,並強調絕不姑息虐待女傭的僱主。

同時,周美芬表示,婦女組將建議有關修法內容,以確保女傭服務的素質,讓勞資雙方獲得同等的保護。

她今日(週四,6月18日)發表文告說:“馬華婦女組將與人力資源部進行交流,以確保所草擬的修法在保障女傭福利之餘,也必須保障僱主的權益。新法案一旦推出,勞資雙方都必須獲得保護。”

她認為,有關虐待女傭的事件只牽涉部份的僱主,並不能以偏概全。儘管如此,婦女組決不姑息虐待女傭的僱主。同時,婦女組也絕對支持修法保障女傭,提高她們的福利,讓她們每週獲得一天的假期。

周美芬:吸引有經驗者來馬‧視女傭能力擬定薪金

星洲日報‧2009.06.19

(吉隆坡)馬華妇女組主席拿汀巴杜卡周美芬認為,大馬付給外國女傭的薪酬比其他國家較底,薪酬卻往往又是決定女傭素質的關鍵因素,因此她認為大馬應以女傭的能力制定薪金制,才能吸引有經驗及口碑較佳的女傭前來服務。

她也認為,女傭代理在引進女傭前,也應事先提供包括家電的使用、打掃清潔技巧的相關訓練,同時也教導本地的文化。

她於週四(6月18日)在馬華婦女組中央執行委員會第二次會議後指出,買電器都有售後服務,女傭代理當然也得在賺取代理費後提供後續服務。

反對引進中國女傭
她也表示支持立法保障女傭福利的建議,但相關法案不能只偏袒一方。

周美芬表示,她曾透過手机短訊向人力資源部長拿督蘇巴馬廉表示,馬華婦女組立場一致,反對引進中國女傭。

周美芬也是婦女、家庭及社會發展部副部長,她補充,引進中國女傭未必能解決現有問題,但卻可能衍生其他問題。

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Makin Ramai Wanita Malaysia Pilih Keusahawanan Sebagai Kerjaya - Chew

KUALA LUMPUR, 18 Jun (Bernama)

Semakin ramai wanita di Malaysia memilih keusahawanan untuk kerjaya sekalipun menghadapi pelbagai cabaran seperti kekurangan sokongan kewangan dan persaingan di pasaran, kata Timbalan Menteri Pembangunan Wanita, Keluarga dan Masyarakat Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun Khamis.

Beliau berkata kerajaan mengambil berat tentang cabaran ini dan kementerian-kementerian berkenaan telah ditugaskan mengenal pasti faktor-faktor yang menghalang seseorang itu dari maju dalam perniagaan.

Chew berkata 99 peratus dari syarikat-syarikat kecil dan sederhana (SME) di negara ini terlibat dalam sektor perkhidmatan, pembuatan dan pertanian dan wanita memiliki 16 peratus daripadanya, yang kebanyakannya dalam sektor perkhidmatan.

"Usahawan wanita Malaysia juga semakin diiktiraf sebagai pemain utama dalam ekonomi, khususnya SME, malah ada yang mendapat pengiktirafan dalam pelbagai bidang oleh kerana mereka sekarang mengetuai beberapa syarikat multi-nasional yang biasanya didominasi oleh lelaki," katanya pada Persidangan pernigaan berjudul "First Asia Women Business Power" di Taman Teknologi Malaysia, di sini.

Beliau berkata, wanita kini boleh mendapat pelbagai geran dan dana kerajaan, termasuk skim bantuan khas menerusi Perbadanan Pembangunan Industri Kecil dan Sederhana (Smidec).-- BERNAMA

More Malaysian Women Choosing Entepreneurship As Career - Chew

KUALA LUMPUR, June 18 (Bernama)

More women in Malaysia are choosing entrepreneurship for a career despite the various challenges they face such as lack of financial support and competitiveness in the market, Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun said Thurasday.

She said the government was concerned about these challenges and the relevant ministries had been tasked to identify the factors which impeded one from progressing in business.

Chew said 99 per cent of the small and medium enterprise (SME) companies in the country were involved in the services, manufacturing and agricultural sectors and women owned 16 per cent of the companies, primarily in the services sector.

"Malaysian women entrepreneurs are also increasingly recognised as key players in the economy, in particular SMEs, and even earned recognition in many fields as they now headed several multi-national companies which used to be dominated by men," she said at the First Asia Women Business Power Conference at Technology Park Malaysia, here.

She said women could now gain access to various government grants and funds, including special assistance schemes through the Small and Medium Industries Development Corporation (Smidec).

Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha said approval of entrepreneurship loans were easily granted to women than men."Women are always loving, reliable and emotional. These qualities have made them excel in business, especially in the services sector where women's participation is 89.5 per cent," he said when opening the conference.He said there was a change in the trend in society in the modern era and many family businesses were taken over by daughters instead of sons.Kong, who is also an MCA vice-president, said that in good or bad times, there was always the risk when it came to doing business on one's own and, as such, there was a need for passion and determination in order to succeed in business.
-- BERNAMA

Principles of the Unity Talks

June 18, 2009

Press statement issued by Wanita MCA Central Committee Members


The women's wing of the MCA made a unanimous stand at its Executive Committee (EXCO) meeting today, that any form of dialogue or collaboration must first and foremost begin with the spirit of a genuine need to develop the country. Before coming to the table, the Opposition must sincerely embrace the tenets of the Federal Constitution. That is, all parties must agree to defend and uphold that Malaysia is a secular state with Islam as the official religion and that the constitutional rights of all Malaysians are protected accordingly.

The principles of freedom of religion and non-discrimination against women must be agreed upon. Discriminatory practices such as imposing dress codes, moral policing and so forth should not be allowed. Likewise, the call by PAS to investigate or to ban SIS is another form of curbing the freedoms of our civil society and a clear violation of our democratic rights and freedoms. PAS's refusal to remove its resolution to ban SIS reflects a false portrayal of the inclusive agenda of the party since the 12th General Elections.



Unless the basic rights of Malaysians are agreed upon, talks of sustainable development and well being of the country are just political rhetoric on part of the Opposition. This dishonesty is upsetting people who have voted them into power.

Lee Kuan Yew meets MCA leaders


(photo: Sin Chew)

A group of MCA leaders led by party president Dato' Seri Ong Tee Keat met with Singapore ’s Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew here on 8th June 2009.

During the 90-minute meeting, Lee and the MCA leaders discussed various issues concerning the Chinese community in Malaysia .

Others who attended the meeting were MCA vice-president Dato' Sri Liow Tiong Lai, MCA Youth chief Dato' Dr Wee Ka Siong, Wanita MCA chief Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun and MCA secretary-general Dato' Wong Foon Meng.

Speech on 1st Asia Women Business Power Conference 2009

INAUGURAL ADDRESS BY YANG BERHORMAT DATIN PADUKA CHEW MEI FUN DEPUTY MINISTER OF WOMEN, FAMILY AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

1st Asia Women Business Power Conference 2009
18th June 2009, Technology Park Malaysia



speech:
Salam sejahtera and a very good morning. It is a great honour to be here with successful and aspiring women entrepreneurs and all of you who have taken the initiative to be part of this inaugural event.

Firstly, I wish to take this opportunity to thank YB Dato’ Seri Kong Cho Ha , Mr Andrew Wong , the MCA ICT Resource Centre (MIRC), MIRC Incubator Sdn Bhd, National Incubation Network Association (NINA), Technology Park Malaysia (TPM), and Vtalent Corporation Sdn. Bhd for giving MCA’s Women Entrepreneur Development Centre (WEDC) a chance to be part of this very meaningful event for women even before WEDC is officially launched. I am confident that this event will be fruitful especially for women entrepreneurs and aspiring women entrepreneurs.

Ladies and gentlemen, Entrepreneurship is increasingly gaining grounds and widely acknowledged as a catalyst for economic development globally and locally. Women are emerging as a significant economic force which no one nation could afford to ignore. Women’s capacity and contribution in entrepreneurship is undoubtedly recognised given that women’s share in businesses worldwide is growing. Statistics reveal that women constitute one third of new ventures founders and make up between 40 to 50 percent of 73 million active entrepreneurs across 34 nations.

In Malaysia, SMEs account for 99 percent of companies involved in services, manufacturing and agricultural sectors. Women own approximately 16 percent of the SMEs companies, primarily in the services sector followed by manufacturing and agricultural sectors. As such, Malaysian women entrepreneurs are increasingly recognized as a key player in the economy in particular to the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

In the age of globalisation, modernisation, industrialisation and rapid urbanisation, women’s role have evolved and shifted away of the traditional domains of home to the public sphere contributing to the nation’s economic growth. Women have not only made inroads but even earned recognition in many fields. Women of today are in senior positions, owner of companies and professionals in fields which used to be dominated by men.

In Malaysia, women’s involvement in entrepreneurship has not only progressed but also evolved. During our mother’s time, women were more involved in cooperative movements. In recent years, we see more women registered as sole proprietor or partners in business enterprises and to top it off, women are now progressively venturing the small medium enterprises (SMEs). Some 60,000 women-owned businesses are registered each year.

Although there is an increasing trend where women consider and opt for entrepreneurship as their career choice; however women entrepreneurs still face challenges on several fronts. The lack of financial support is one of the key challenges faced by women entrepreneurs. Competitiveness of women entrepreneurs in the mass market is another issue in question.

The Malaysian government is mindful of the value in promoting the development of women entrepreneurship in the country towards achieving Malaysia’s national development objectives including economic development and growth. Thus, relevant ministries have now been tasked to identify factors which impede one from progressing in business. Such ministries have initiated programmes and schemes to encourage greater participation of women in the small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Various government grants and funds can be accessed by women entrepreneurs through agencies such as the Special Assistance Schemes through the Small and Medium Industries Development Corporation (SMIDEC).

The Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development recognises the importance of empowering women economically and thus has always been supportive of women in business. The Ministry has its focus on three main areas namely economic empowerment, capacity building and enhancing quality of life of women. The Ministry through the Department of Women’s Development (JPW) conducts various programmes aimed at economically empowering women and single mothers. The “Inkubator Kemahiran Ibu Tunggal” or I-KIT (Intensive Skills Training for Single Mothers) is a special project under the Ninth Malaysia Plan aimed at eradicating poverty among women, especially single mothers. I-KIT offers intensive courses in various fields such as beauty therapy, cooking, sewing, handicraft, child care and tourism. In 2008, 349 single mothers from eleven states all over Malaysia benefited through the I-KIT programme. 85 single mothers from the I-KIT programme have ventured into micro enterprise immediately upon completion of the course. Based from the very positive outcome of the programme, the I-KIT programme started venturing into entrepreneurial training this year. In addition, various training programmes are also conducted to educate women on financial management.

Ladies and gentlemen,Efforts to facilitate and ensure growth of women entrepreneurs no longer rest on the public sector alone. The public and corporate sectors also play a prominent role in supporting the development and growth of women entrepreneurs in Malaysia.

The Wanita MCA women’s wing of MCA, a component party in the ruling coalition take great interest in issues which affect the economic and social well being of all irrespective of gender, ethnicity or nationality. Our programmes include providing a platform to women to develop their full potential to empowering women through knowledge and skills building to advocacy in promoting quality of life for all Malaysians and in particular advocacy for the promotion and protection of women’s human rights.

Thus, the MCA Women Development Entrepreneur Centre (WEDC) was conceptualised and will be in operation soon. It was primarily mooted to empower women towards economic self-sufficiency and financial independence; develop and nurture more women entrepreneurs to participate in the Malaysia’s economic development; promote Women SMEs in growth sectors; position women businesses towards the Global Market through networking, skill development and market access and ensure access to financing for women businesses to expand.

Once WEDC operates officially, its target group will encompass four categories. Firstly, home-based business, which is premised on traditional businesses such as catering, handicrafts etc. Secondly, new Businesses involving high impact sectors such as ICT, Biotech, Franchising etc. Would-be or aspiring Entrepreneurs falls into the third category. Finally, the fourth category is for economically or financially challenged families which include single parents, those who are retrenched and physically challenged.

In short, WEDC aims to assist women in two ways namely facilitating women to enrol into skill enhancement courses, business development and incubation programmes; and secondly reaching out to deserving women to disseminate information on mentoring, skill development and availability of grants.

Women make up half of the world’s population and in Malaysia it’s no different with the nation’s population of 27 million. Malaysian women represent almost half of the total workforce in 2008. With the estimated 8.47 million women between the ages of 15 to 64 years old, just imagine the impact they could bring if such a powerful force of women were to be fully utilized. As such, the participation of women in the nation’s economic activities is no longer an option, but a prerequisite to boost Malaysia’s competitiveness.

From the broad areas which will be discussed and deliberated in today’s conference, it is my fervent hope that all of us here will benefit from key learnings shared by the invited speakers and experts. Also, I hope that this conference will also serve as a platform for our women entrepreneur to start networking, and establish closer ties among women entrepreneurs throughout the region.

I am hopeful that today’s conference will facilitate in the discovery of a new you in the entrepreneur sector and inspire more women to become entrepreneurs.

Last but not least, I wish you all the best in your future endeavours.

Thank you.

修法规定女佣每周休息一天,马华妇女组力陈公平对待女佣与雇主

马华全国妇女组主席拿汀巴杜卡周美芬支持人力资源部修法保障女佣福利的建议,并强调绝不姑息虐待女佣的雇主。同时,周美芬声称,妇女组将建议有关修法内容,以确保女佣服务的素质,让劳资双方获得同等的保护。

“马华妇女组将与人力资源部进行交流 ,以确保所草拟的修法在保障女佣福利之余,也必须保障雇主的权益。新法案一旦推出, 劳资双方都必须获得保护。”

周美芬认为,有关虐待女佣的事件只牵涉部分的雇主,并不能以偏概全。尽管如此,妇女组决不姑息虐待女佣的雇主。同时,妇女组也绝对支持修法保障女佣,提高她们的福利,让她们每周获得一天的假期。

“妇女组也意识到雇主一方所面对的问题,如当发生女佣偷跑的事件,雇主将损失五千元的手续费,同时也会面对来自移民厅的罚款。此外,也曾发生一些不负责任的女佣中介所在女佣试用期完毕后,串通女佣潜逃,再把女佣介绍给另外的雇主。在这种情况下,必须要有法令保障雇主的权益。”

“劳工法除了保障女佣的福利之余,同时也必须加插相关的法令保障雇主的权利。若果有关女佣无法有预期的表现,在未获得雇主的批准下带陌生人回家,进行偷窃等等,雇主因该拥有更换女佣的权利,虽然有关女佣试用期已满。”

周美芬进一步指出, 人力资源部必须确保外国女佣中介所给予女佣足够的训练,除了确保她们有一定的工作基本知识之余,让她们了解马来西亚的文化习俗也是十分重要的。

Wanita MCA slams Hadi Awang’s obstinacy to ban SIS

Press Statement issued by Wanita MCA National Chairman Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun over the firm stand taken by PAS President Hadi Awang in banning Sisters in Islam (SIS)

Wanita MCA National Chairman Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun today criticized the stubbornness of PAS President Dato’ Seri Hadi Awang in insisting that Sisters in Islam (SIS) is not qualified to discuss Syariah laws. “Hadi Awang’s obstinacy reflects his prima donna disposition that only he is qualified to discuss on such issues. Such sheer arrogance from Hadi shows that he is an extreme and conservative-minded person.”

“At its recently concluded muktamar, PAS endorsed a resolution to ban SIS which has received much flak and criticism from the public. Later, Shah Alam division PAS chief Khalid Samad who is also the MP for that constituency, who raised the resolution earlier admitted that his division had made a mistake in its wording in the said motion and they will send a letter to PAS HQ to clarify the matter,” Mei Fun said.

“Even though the Shah Alam PAS chief has admitted his mistake over this issue, but PAS President Hadi Awang is still adamant that SIS is not qualified to talk on Syariah laws. Hadi Awang even questioned the professionalism and validity of SIS. In short, this shows that Hadi Awang is very autocratic in his actions and mindset,” she added.

Mei Fun stressed that “in a democratic society, everyone has a right to express their views freely. For example, she added before legislating any laws, we have to gather the professional views from all parties and then debate them in Parliament. Only through this, are we able to come out with effective laws that will suit the needs of society. Even after Parliament has approved amendments or enactment of new Acts, different judges have different interpretations, of whom some judges will deliver rulings based on individual cases.”

The MCA women’s wing chief also expressed that denying the right of SIS to put forward their views not only violated human rights but also has contradicted with PAS’ slogan to uphold democracy and respect of all people’s views. “PAS has clearly drifted away from their election manifesto of ‘PAS for All’. The actions by PAS clearly show that they continue to discriminate against women.” Mei Fun therefore urges all Malaysians to look clearly into PAS’ real motives in wanting to ban SIS.

Bosses Can’t Refuse Requests For Travel Documents

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2009/6/18/nation/4143231&sec=nation
Thursday June 18, 2009

PUTRAJAYA: Employers holding on to the passport of their foreign maids must surrender the travel document if and when the maids ask for it.

Human Resource Minister Datuk S. Subramaniam said employers did not have the right to refuse the request from the maids for any reason, especially when they wanted to quit or leave the country.

“Failure to surrender the passport on the request will result in a RM10,000 fine under amendments to the Employment Act 1955,” he told a press conference after meeting Indian Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal here yesterday, Employers who decide to hold on to the passports would be responsible for renewing their maids’ work permits, he said.

On the proposal to make it mandatory for employers to grant one day off in a week to their maids, he said it was already in the law, and not something new.

He also said the day off could be on any day agreed upon by employers and their maids.

Meanwhile, Wanita MCA chairman Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun said any new regulation should be fair to both employers and maids.

“Wanita MCA is aware of the problems encountered by employers when foreign maids run away. They would have to fork out fines in addition to losing over RM5,000 paid for agency fees,” she said in a statement.

Chew also called for laws to protect employers against unscrupulous maid agencies which colluded with maids to abscond.

“There must be adequate laws to not only prosecute foreign maids but also hold the agencies accountable when the maids assault those under their charge,” she added.

Indonesian embassy minister counsellor for information, social and culture Widyarka Ryananta said Indonesian maids were entitled to a day off a week and this was a normal practice in other countries, He said giving a day off would not only benefit the maids but also be good for Malaysia’s image, which had come under international scrutiny from bodies like the International Labour Organisation due to recent maid abuse cases.

Second secretary (consular affairs) Susapto Anggoro Broto said Indonesia wanted the maids to receive a portion of their salary in the first month that they started working instead of the current practice of getting paid after six months.

“Protection of migrant workers is a vital issue. We need to sit down together and discuss the terms and we hope to discuss not just salary but also cost structure and other aspects,” he said, adding that a meeting could be held as soon as next month.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

On mandatory off day for maids – Wanita MCA urges Human Resources Ministry to have fair treatment for both maids and employers

17 June 2009
Press Statement issued by Wanita MCA National Chairman Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun on the Human Resources Ministry announcement of mandatory off day for maids

At no time whatsoever has Wanita MCA ever and will never condone maid abuse by irresponsible employers. Hence, our wing had proposed for the enactment of laws which will protect both maid while maintaining the performance of maids and quality of service rendered by foreign maid agencies as expected from employers.

Wanita MCA calls on the Human Resource Ministry to remedy the issue of the plight of employers where measures must simultaneously be taken to safeguard their welfare too when incorporating the provision to look after the welfare of maids.

Wanita MCA recognizes that maid abuse involves only a small section of employers. Nevertheless, we do not condone any form of abuse and hence support the incorporation of new provisions making it mandatory for maids to be given one day off a week as they are intended to enhance the welfare of maids given that the proposals were raised for the benefit of maids.

Meanwhile the new provision does not address the problems encountered by employers in different scenarios where the maid and/or maid agency has performed below expectation. It is the view of Wanita MCA view that any introduction of new laws and regulations must protect and be fair to both parties – maids and employers.

Wanita MCA is aware of the problems encountered by employers, for example in instances of runaway foreign maids, thus rendering the employers having to fork out fines which run up to the hundreds to the Immigration Department besides losing over RM5,000 paid in agency fees to procure the services of the maid.

There must be laws to protect employers against unscrupulous maid agencies who collude with maids to abscond after the trial period finishes, only to be “recycled” and resurface in the house of another employer.

If the Employment Act will include provision for the welfare of foreign maids, a same provision must also be inserted into the said Act or incorporated in other laws to protect the rights of employers. For example, if the foreign maid fails to perform to expectation, or carries health diseases, brings in outsiders to the homes without the employer’s knowledge/permission, commits theft, and others, the employer must be allowed to exchange the maid for a new one without penalty charges even after the standard trial period of 6 months have been completed.

There must also be adequate laws to not only prosecute foreign maids but also hold the maid agencies accountable when foreign maids assault their charges in their care i.e. children, senior citizens in addition to cases mentioned above.

Meanwhile, the Human Resources Ministry must also ensure that foreign maid agencies play their part in giving training to the maids, not only in terms of taking care of charges and using household equipment properly but also understanding Malaysian customs, norms and practices.

周美芬抨击回教党主席冥顽不灵指责回教姐妹组织没资格谈回教法的做法

文告(17/6/2009)

(吉隆坡16日讯) 马华妇女组主席拿汀巴杜卡周美芬抨击回教党主席哈迪阿旺冥顽不灵指责回教姐妹组织没资格谈回教法的做法,显示他已视自己为谈论回教法的权威与唯一人选,如此狂妄自大的气焰显示其宗教极端保守的思维!

回教党于较早前落幕的代表大会中,通过其中以一项提案,即查禁回教组织姐妹而引起外界强烈的抨击。在纷扰风波中,提出此项提案的回教党沙亚南区部主席承认,“回教党查禁回教姐妹组织”是字眼上所出现的错误,他们更表示会在近日内致函回教党总部作出解释。

“现在提出该项提案的区部已经承认错误,反观回教党主席仍然冥顽不灵地认为回教姐妹组织完全没有资格谈论回教法,甚至质疑该组织的专业与合法性。这根本就是‘只准州官放火,不许百姓点灯’的做法!” 周美芬抨击说道。

“在民主自由的社会,任何人都有权表达自己的看法,甚至所有法律的制定在定案前也必须经过意见收集、议会辩论的过程,这样才能出现最合乎社会制度的律法。在一些时候,制定后的法律也不能完全确保所有法官就同一法律条文拥有一致的诠释,反之是依据个别案件做出定夺。”

周美芬认为否决回教姐妹组织团员表达各自的意见与看法的做法,不但违反了人权利益,更与回教党一直标榜‘尊重人民’、‘尊重民主’的口号背道而驰,违反了‘全民回教党’的斗争路线。回教党如此做法更凸现其从不改变的歧视女性沙文主义思维。因此,周氏更吁请全国女性同胞张大双眼,看清回教党的真面目。

Courtesy visit by Kongres Indian Muslim Malaysia (KIMMA)


Ahli Majlis Tertinggi daripada KIMMA mengadakan kunjugan hormat ke Pejabat Timbalan Menteri Kementerian Pembangunan Wanita, Keluarga dan Masyarakat pada 17hb Jun 2009.
dari kiri:
(1) En Mohamad Mosin B. Abdul Razak - Timbalan Presiden KIMMA Kebangsaan
(2) Pn Chan Bee Bt. Jemal Deen - Ketua Wanita KIMMA Kebangsaan
(3) YB Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun - Timbalan Menteri KPWKM
(4) En Syed Ibrahim B. Kader - Presiden KIMMA Kebangsaan
(5) Pn Nabisa Bt. Abd Gaffoor - Timbalan Setiausaha KIMMA Kebangsaan
(6) Pn Zubaidah Bt, Haja Mohaideen - PA kepada Presiden KIMMA

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Courtesy Visit from Senior Minister & Singapore High Commission on 16th June 2009




Distinguish Guests from Singpaore:

(1) Ms Grace Fu, Senior Minister of State for Education and Nasional Development
(2) Ms Lim Wan Yong, Director, Planning, Ministry of Education
(3) Mr Kevin Cheok, Deputy High Commissioner, Singapore High Commission
(4) Ms Lian Hui, Senior Officer, International Relations, Planning Division, Ministry of Education
(5) Ms Sheryl Shum, First Secretary, Singapore High Commission

Courtesy visit from YWCA & NCWO on 9th June 2009


from left:
Puan Josephine Chua - President (National President), YWCA
Datuk Rasammah Bhupalan - Exco member, YWCA
Puan Sandra Simon - Naib President, YWCA
Susan Brennan - World President for YWCA
YB Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun - Deputy Minister
Dato' Ramani Gurusamy - Timbalan President, NCWO
Y.Bhg. Datin Seri Elena Chiang Abdullah - Setiausaha Bahagian Antarabangsa KPWKM

(YWCA - Young Woman Christian Association, NCWO - National Council Women Organization)

周美芬:婦女組辦活動‧勿聘“跑碼頭”兒童表演

星洲日報‧2009.06.14

关丹区会妇女组赠送花束予周美芬副部长 (图:CFL)

(彭亨‧關丹)馬華婦女組基層黨員受促今日(週日,6月14日)起舉辦各種活動時,勿聘請“跑碼頭”的兒童藝人表演娛賓。

馬華婦女組主席拿督汀巴杜卡周美芬指出,此舉是為了保障兒童的福利,減少“童工”的問題出現。

“從今日起,凡婦女組可作決定的舞台表演、宴會表演,我們不應該花錢聘請‘跑碼頭´的兒童藝人上台表演,因為兒童在這個時候,必須專注精神於求學。到全馬各地表演,這是非常不健康的。

“這些16歲以下的舞台表演者都是非法童工,你聘請他,你就是犯法。除非是由學校派出的兒童才藝、文化演出才可被接受。”

她是於週日出席馬華關丹區會婦女組代表大會開幕儀式上致詞時,作出此項呼吁。

另一方面,周美芬也呼吁選美活動的主辦單位,應該嚴格關注參賽者的年齡和身份,勿讓中學生參加選美,因為這種活動將對她們帶來不良影響。

周美芬:未看清局勢作調整‧自信過高導致大選失利

星洲日報‧2009.06.14

侯建仲(右三)捐獻1萬令吉作為馬來西亞十大傑青獎的經費,他在周美芬(中)及劉華才(左三)的見證下,移交模擬支票給王鎂樺(左二);右起為簡吉祥及謝念芳,左一為梁桄明。(圖:星洲日報)

(雪蘭莪‧八打靈再也)一場308政治海嘯把許多政治人物從政壇上卷走,許多人把這歸咎於時不予我或國陣機制的問題,但是婦女、家庭及社會發展部副部長拿汀巴杜卡周美芬卻認為,競選失敗在於自己過於安逸!

目前已重返權力核心的她說,本身在去年大選時失利的關鍵是過於安逸及自信過高,導致自己沒看清局勢的改變,適時作出調整。

“當時我以為以前的那一套行得通,大家都說人心是肉做的,只要踏實與勤於服務,人家就會支持你,結果換來的卻是被標簽為看溝渠的國會議員。我們在宣傳上失衡了,大家都沒看到我在部門里為婦女爭取福利的努力……”

周美芬也是2004年馬來西亞傑出青年榮譽獎――政治、法律或政府事務上的成就獎得主,她週六(6月13日)在星洲日報為馬來西亞十大傑青巡回分享會(吉隆坡)“成功之路”主持開幕禮及分享時說,經過一番沉淀與省思,自己並未氣餒,而是接受挫敗與改變。

要成功須先瞭解優缺點
她指出,一個人若要成功,就必須先瞭解自己的優缺點,並且接受它們以作出改變,若無法面對自己的缺點或過去,就無法提昇。

談及本身面對困難時的信念,她說,從爬山的經驗中她悟出一個道理,即天無絕人之路,只要確保自己所行的每一步是穩當的,就能找到立足點。

除了請來周美芬分享其成功之路,吉隆坡文華國際青年商會也邀請了2003年的商業、經濟或企業上的傑青得獎主拿督侯建仲及2002年的個人發展及成就傑青得獎主劉華才分享他們的人生經驗。
其他出席者包括吉隆坡文華國際青商會會長梁桄明、馬來西亞十大傑青獎籌委會主席王鎂樺、巡回講座籌委會主席簡吉祥及星洲日報總經理(業務促進)謝念芳。

種族因素非虐傭主因‧周美芬:引進中國女傭非解決之道

星洲日報‧2009.06.15

(彭亨‧關丹)“難道中國女傭就不會被虐待,不是中國女傭就活該被虐待嗎?如果說中國女傭溝通沒問題,那她們會頂嘴呀!豈不是火上加油?”

婦女、家庭及社會發展部副部長拿汀巴杜卡周美芬表示,最近虐待女傭事件被揭發後,開始有人建議大馬是時候開放引進中國女傭,她認為這是非常不智的,而且是天大的笑話。

她週日(6月14日)出席馬華關丹區會婦女組代表大會,在開幕儀式上致詞時如此表示。

她說,雖然不是每一個雇主都會虐傭,但只要發生一兩宗,就使到全體人民蒙羞,國家聲譽和形象受影響,也讓一些印尼人覺得大馬人殘暴無比。

她認為提出引進中國女傭的解決方法的人士,根本不瞭解問題所在。

“一些僱主會虐待女傭,可能是她在家庭中受到壓抑、或在有家暴的原生家庭環境中長大,也可能是僱主與女傭相處不和所致,造成虐待女傭事件有很多原因,而溝通或種族因素肯定不是主要理由。”

促規定代理定期訪女傭
為了協助減少虐待女傭事件,婦女、家庭及社會發展部建議政府,規定女傭代理需定期拜訪女傭瞭解她們的工作及生活情況。

婦女、家庭及社會發展部副部長拿汀巴杜卡周美芬表示,婦女、家庭及社會發展部最近建議修改法令或條規,規定所有女傭代理,每年至少要拜訪受聘女傭2次。

同時,僱主需給女傭半小時或更多時間,讓她在不受干擾或監視下與代理溝通。

與此同時,代理也必須造訪僱主,向僱主瞭解女傭的服務素質,如果不好就要改進;如果女傭素質真的很差,即使過了6個月,代理應該允許僱主換女傭。

這個建議不但可照顧僱主的利益,也照顧到女傭的福利。

“我們認為把照顧女傭福利的責任,變成由代理及僱主共同承擔,同時也確保女傭服務素質達到我們的要求,相信虐待女傭問題將可減少。”

另外,周美芬也發表文告說,上述所建議的法令,以及女傭代理負責人與僱主和女傭之間的對話交流,應達致這幾項目標(見表)。

建議擬新法令保障女傭與僱主權益
1)維護女傭福利的重大責任,將共同落在僱主和女傭代理身上。
2)女傭們的福利必須由一套健全的機制加以檢查和監督,以防止遭受虐待。
3)確保女傭代理和女傭的服務素質受到監督,確保僱主獲得優質服務。
4)即使過了6個月的試用期,僱主應該保留擁有免費更換表現不佳女傭的權力。
5)女傭逃跑和被僱主虐待,抑或女傭虐待事主們的案例也將減少。

美芬:建議擬定新法令‧規定女傭代理制度化

星洲日報‧2009.06.14


(圖:星洲日報)

(吉隆坡)馬華婦女組主席拿汀巴杜卡周美芬說,婦女組建議政府擬定一項新法令,以強制性規定女傭代理必須制度化,與僱主進行交流及上門探訪女傭,並且至少一年兩次。

她今日(週日,6月14日)針對遭受僱主虐待的印尼女傭茜蒂哈嘉一事發表文告說,雖然這只是涉及少數的僱主,但基於人道立場及維護女傭們的切身權益,同時也為了防止女傭們遭受任何形式的生理,心理和性虐待,所以這項法令的草擬是必需的。

代理應與女傭及僱主交流
周美芬表示,女傭們必須獲得至少30分鐘與女傭代理負責人的私人對話時間,確保女傭們在不畏懼僱主無理對待的情況下,讓女傭代理負責人,瞭解女傭所面對的問題。

“為了以示公平,女傭代理負責人也必須與僱主進行交流,瞭解女傭在執行任務時的實際狀況和行為表現。”

周美芬表示,上述所建議的法令,以及女傭代理負責人與僱主和女傭之間的對話交流,應達致這幾項目標(見表)。

Wanita MCA wants more maid agency-client rapport

The Star News: Sunday June 14, 2009

PETALING JAYA: In view of the increasing cases of abuse, Wanita MCA has proposed that maid agencies talk to their clients regularly to know how the maids are getting on.

Its chief Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun said this would allow the agencies to get a better picture of what was going on in the household.

“Maid agencies should pay at least two visits to the maids in a year,” she said in a statement.

She added that during the visits, the maids should be allowed to communicate in private with the agents for at least 30 minutes without the presence of the employers. “This is to monitor the maids’ social well-being,” she said.

The same should be done with the employers to get an assessment of the maids’ performance and a better understanding of their expectations of their maids, she added.

Chew said such an approach would protect the maids and employers and reduce the cases of runaway maids or abuse.

“Through this, the shared responsibilities of the maids’ welfare are placed on both the employers and agencies,” she said.

She suggested that employers have the right to change a new maid without being penalised if the maid had under-performed even after the six-month trial period.

The latest victim of maid abuse involved Indonesian Siti Hajar, who escaped to the Indonesian Embassy last week.

Wanita MCA: Regular communication between maids, employers & agencies reduces maid abuse

14 June 2009

Press Statement issued by Wanita MCA National Chairman Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun on addressing and preventing maid abuse

Recently, mainstream newspapers and the new media have published news about the alleged abuse of Indonesian foreign maid Siti Hajar whilst in the employ of her Malaysian employer. It is unfortunate that such incidents continue to occur in Malaysia. While Wanita MCA recognizes that most Malaysian employers do not resort to battering and scalding their foreign maids, the women’s wing of MCA is also concerned that there may still exist more such cases which have gone unreported and unnoticed.

To protect domestic servants against any form of physical, sexual or mental abuse, Wanita MCA proposes that a law be introduced compelling maid agencies to hold regular communication with their clients as well as making regular visits to the maids at least twice a year.

During such visits, the domestic servants should be allowed to hold a private discussion with the foreign maid agents for at least 30 minutes without the presence of the employers where any problem maybe aired without fear of reprisals from either the agent or employers.

In the same vein, to hear two sides of a coin, the maid agencies should also hold regular sessions with their clients to gain a better comprehension of the expectation of the employers of their maids, particularly in addressing cases where the performance of foreign maids falls far below expectation.

In so doing, the proposed law and these regular communication sessions between the agent and maid/employer may achieve the following goals:

1) The shared responsibilities on the maids’ welfare are placed on both the employers and agencies
2) The social well being of the maids are being monitored and checked to prevent maid abuse
3) The quality of service rendered by both maid and agency is similarly monitored and checked, and thus upheld. Hence, employers are also protected against underperforming maids or agencies.
4) If found that the maid is indeed underperforming, the employers reserve the right to exchange the maid with the agencies for a new one without penalty charges even after the standard trial period of six months has lapsed
5) The problems of runaway maids, or maids violently abusing their charges and employers are reduced.

建議擬新法令保護女傭

文告:

(吉隆坡14日讯)马华妇女组主席拿汀巴杜卡周美芬针对较早前遭受雇主虐待的印尼女佣西蒂哈嘉一事表示,妇女组建议政府拟定一项新法令,以强制性规定女佣代理必须制度化与雇主进行交流及上门探访女佣,并且至少一年两次。

周美芬说,虽然这只是涉及少数的雇主,但基于人道立场及维护女佣们的切身权益,同时也为了防止未来继续发生女佣们遭受任何形式的身理,心理和性虐待,所以这项法令的草拟是必需的。
周美芬表示,女佣们必须获得至少30分钟与女佣代理负责人的私人对话时间,确保女佣们在不畏惧雇主将无理对待的情况下,让女佣代理负责人了解女佣们所面对的问题。 她进一步阐述,为了公平,女佣代理负责人也必须与雇主们进行交流,了解女佣们在执行任务时的实际状况和行为表现。

周美芬表示,上述所建议的法令,以及女佣代理负责人与雇主们和女佣们之间的对话交流应或将达致以下这几项目标:

1) 维护女佣们福利的重大责任将共同落在雇主和女佣代理身上;
2) 女佣们的福利必须由一套健全的机制加以检查和监督,以防止遭受虐待;
3) 确保女佣代理 和女佣的服务素质受到监督,确保雇主们获得优质服务;
4) 即使过了6个月的试用期,雇主们应获保留拥有免费更受任何形式的身理,心理和性虐待,所以这项法令的草拟是必需的。

周美芬表示,女佣们必须获得至少30分钟与女佣代理负责人的私人对话时间,确保女佣们在不畏惧雇主将无理对待的情况下,让女佣代理负责人了解女佣们所面对的问题。

她进一步阐述,为了公平,女佣代理负责人也必须与雇主们进行交流,了解女佣们在执行任务时的实际状况和行为表现。

周美芬表示,上述所建议的法令,以及女佣代理负责人与雇主们和女佣们之间的对话交流应或将达致以下这几项目标:

1) 维护女佣们福利的重大责任将共同落在雇主和女佣代理身上;
2) 女佣们的福利必须由一套健全的机制加以检查和监督,以防止遭受虐待;
3) 确保女佣代理 和女佣的服务素质受到监督,确保雇主们获得优质服务;
4) 即使过了6个月的试用期,雇主们应获保留拥有免费更换表现不佳女佣的权力;
5) 女佣逃跑和被雇主虐待,抑或女佣虐待事主们的案例也将减少。

星洲互動‧2009.06.14
(吉隆坡)馬華婦女組主席拿汀巴杜卡周美芬說,婦女組建議政府擬定一項新法令,以強制性規定女傭代理必須制度化與僱主進行交流及上門探訪女傭,並且至少一年兩次。


她今日(週日,6月14日)針對遭受僱主虐待的印尼女傭茜蒂哈嘉一事發表文告說,雖然這只是涉及少數的僱主,但基於人道立場及維護女傭們的切身權益,同時也為了防止女傭們遭受任何形式的身理,心理和性虐待,所以這項法令的草擬是必需的。

周美芬表示,女傭們必須獲得至少30分鐘與女傭代理負責人的私人對話時間,確保女傭們在不畏懼僱主無理對待的情況下,讓女傭代理負責人瞭解女傭們所面對的問題。

Wajibkan agensi kerap jumpa pembantu rumah

Berita Utusan Online : 15/06/2009


Wanita MCA hari ini mencadangkan supaya diwujudkan undang-undang yang mewajibkan agensi pembantu rumah mengadakan komunikasi secara kerap dengan pelanggan mereka sekurang-kurangnya dua kali setahun.

Ketua Wanita MCA, Senator Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun berkata, pelaksanaan undang- undang itu diyakini berkesan untuk menghalang berlakunya kes penderaan.

Beliau berkata, semasa lawatan, pembantu rumah perlu dibenarkan berbincang secara peribadi dengan agensi mereka sekurang-kurangnya selama 30 minit tanpa kehadiran majikan.

"Perbincangan tertutup tanpa kehadiran majikan membolehkan pembantu rumah menceritakan masalah mereka tanpa perasaan takut.

"Sesi sama juga harus diadakan dengan majikan bagi membolehkan mereka meluahkan rasa tidak puas hati tentang mutu perkhidmatan atau masalah yang ditimbulkan pembantu rumah," katanya dalam kenyataan di sini hari ini.

Beliau mengulas kisah pembantu rumah Indonesia, Siti Hajar, 33, yang melarikan diri ke Kedutaan Besar Republik Indonesia (KBRI) di ibu negara selepas mendakwa didera dengan kejam oleh majikannya baru-baru ini.

Mei Fun berkata, undang-undang itu jika diluluskan akan memberi kebaikan kepada kedua-dua pihak iaitu memastikan kebajikan pembantu rumah dipelihara dan mengelak mereka daripada didera oleh majikan.

Bagi majikan pula, tambahnya, mereka akan menikmati mutu perkhidmatan yang baik kerana boleh membuat aduan sekiranya mendapat pembantu rumah yang bermasalah.

"Majikan berhak menuntut daripada agensi berkaitan untuk mendapatkan pembantu rumah baru jika mendapati mutu kerja pembantu rumah sedia ada tidak memuaskan.

"Undang-undang ini jika dilaksanakan juga mampu menyelesaikan masalah pembantu rumah lari dari rumah dan menyusahkan majikan," katanya.

馬華正副部長與吉華團交流


妇女、家庭及社會及發展部副部長周美芬:推動尋找貧戶計劃,吉州15區會都有委任華人福利官員,共有6千332人申請獲批,581戶審核中,但7千088申請不獲通過。
(图:CFL)

Wanita MCA Praises Open mindeness of IKIM, Opposes Use of Religion for Hidden Agendas

Press statement by Wanita MCA Chairman Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun lauding IKIM’s position on child conversion

Wanita MCA National Chairman Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun lauded Datuk Dr. Syed Ali Tawfik Al-Attas, Director-General of the Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia (IKIM), for his enlightened views on the conversion issue. He has stated that any person, including minors, should not be forced to convert to Islam, as it should be a willing submission. He also wishes to see the true form of Islam understood and practised by all sides, instead of it being used to serve personal interests.

Mei Fun agrees with the statements made by Dr. Syed Ali, who on Thursday 11 June made a keynote address titled “Crisis in Religious Thinking” at a seminar held at the Perak Institute of Islamic Administration. During his address, Dr. Syed Ali noted that the ability to think and reason is an important part of the process by which non-Muslims, including minors, convert to Islam.

“Past rulings made by the Cabinet are consistent with the views of Dr. Syed Ali. Children should not be burdened with the responsibility of accepting something that they do not understand. In other words, adults must not unilaterally decide for minors whether or not they convert to Islam,” the Wanita MCA chairman emphasized.

On 2009 April 22, the Cabinet decided that minor children of a couple where one spouse had converted to Islam be raised in accordance with the common religion at the time of their marriage. This ruling revealed the reform and progressive trend on religious issues in Malaysia, as it gained much public support. However, it also faced much opposition from PAS as well as fundamentalist religious elements.

“PAS and other fundamentalist parties should stop their opposition to the Cabinet ruling on child conversion. Instead, they should follow the views of Dr. Syed Ali as part of a general progressive trend of Islamic thought,” Mei Fun stated.

Finally, Chew Mei Fun professes her wish for all parties in Malaysia to work together and cooperate for the greater good and national unity as the main priority, while at the same time maintaining religious harmony, instead of using of religion for personal agendas.

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2009/6/13/nation/20090613185739&sec=nation
Published: Saturday June 13, 2009 MYT 6:55:00 PM

Ikim’s stand on child conversion wins approval

PETALING JAYA: Wanita MCA has applauded the Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia ’s (Ikim) stance that child conversion should not be done.

Its chief Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun said children should not be burdened with the responsibility of accepting something which they did not understand.

“Adults must not unilaterally decide for minors whether or not they convert to Islam,” she said in a statement yesterday.

While delivering his keynote address titled Crisis in Religious Thinking, Ikim director-general Datuk Dr Syed Ali Tawfik Al-Attas had said that no one, including minors, should be forced to convert to Islam.

The decision to embrace Islam was a willing submission of which the ability to think and reason played an essential role, he said.

Chew urged PAS and other fundamentalist parties to stop opposing the Cabinet ruling on the religion of children and follow Dr Syed Ali’s views instead as part of a general progressive trend of Islamic thought.

The Cabinet had decided in April that the children of a couple where one spouse converted to Islam later would be raised in accordance with the common religion at the time of the marriage.

Chew puji kenyataan Ketua Pengarah IKIM

Berita Harian OnLine 12 Jun 2009

KUALA LUMPUR: Ketua Wanita MCA, Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun memuji pendirian Ketua Pengarah Institut Kefahaman Islam Malaysia (IKIM), Datuk Dr Syed Ali Tawfik Al-Attas berhubung status agama yang perlu diamalkan anak selepas ibu bapa mereka bercerai.

Chew berkata, kenyataan Syed Ali itu disifatkannya dibuat untuk memastikan tidak timbul kekeliruan di kalangan masyarakat mengenai perkara berkenaan, perlu dihormati memandangkan perkara itu sering dijadikan isu untuk kepentingan pihak tertentu.

"Sepatutnya beban dipikul anak kepada pasangan yang berpisah tidak ditambah dengan isu agama perlu dianuti dan diamalkan. Syed Ali sendiri bersetuju bahawa semua orang, sama ada ibu bapa atau anak mereka (selepas perceraian) tidak boleh dipaksa untuk menganut dan mengamalkan agama tertentu. Penekanan ini lebih kepada anak yang masih kecil di mana mereka hendaklah memeluk agama (pilihan mereka) secara sukarela. Keputusan Kabinet sebelum ini juga konsisten dengan pandangan Ketua Pengarah IKIM itu," katanya di sini semalam

周美芬赞扬回教研究机构开明看法,各造不应利用宗教谋私利

文告(12/6/2009)

(吉隆坡12日讯)马华妇女组主席拿汀巴杜卡周美芬赞扬大马回教研究机构(IKIM)总监拿督赛阿里的开明言论。他表示任何人包括未成年者皈依回教不应存强迫成分,是开明持平的看法。他也希望各造可以更加了解与奉行正信的回教教义,而非通过宗教来达至个人议程。

周美芬是鉴于赛阿里于周四在霹雳回教管理学院一场题为“宗教想法的危机”的演讲致词中,提及用自身思考能力的非回教徒,包括未成年孩童应被给予机会选择是否皈依回教的看法而有此说。

“内阁之前针对改教课题所议决的突破性决定,与赛阿里的看法是不谋而合的。未成年孩童不应该承担以及被逼接受自己不了解的宗教责任;换句话说,成年人是没有权力为未成年孩童决定是否要皈依回教。”

大马内阁于2009年4月22日决定一些改教训令以解决改教课题所应发的种种问题,其中就包括夫妻任何一方改信宗教,孩子必须根据两人结婚时的宗教信仰来抚养。此项改教训令的颁布显示大马宗教课题迎向改革方向,同时获得社会阶层的支持;另一方面,回教党以及宗教极端分子却纷纷反对内阁此项决定。

“回教党以及其他宗教异端分子应该停止反对与抨击内阁做出的改教训令决定,反之应向专职回教研究的赛阿里看齐,跳脱迂腐保守的框架,奉行开明持平的宗教信仰。”她补充。

最后,周美芬希望国内各政党与各造,应该同心协力以人民福利与宗教和谐作为全民团结的主要考量因素,而非炒作宗教课题达成个人目的

子宫癌是第2號杀手周美芬:妇女应提高醒觉

星洲日报2009.06.11

周美芬为子宫颈癌醒觉运动主持开幕;中为拉曼学院院长陈泽却博士和急救团主席刘康煜。(图:CFL)

(吉隆坡)妇女、家庭及社会发展部副部长拿汀巴杜卡周美芬说,子宫颈癌是妇女第2號杀手,因此应提高妇女的健康醒觉。

她今日(週四,6月11日)为马华志工团基金会在拉曼学院举办的子宫颈癌醒觉运动主持开幕时指出,每天有4名女性被诊断患上子宫癌。

优惠价注射疫苗
也是马华志工团团长的周美芬透露,举办子宫颈癌醒觉运动,除了提供健康检验,也以优惠价格让民眾注射疫苗。

“这项运动不但能提高醒觉,也能鼓励人们加入志工团,为社会献力。”

她说,目前该志工团拥有3辆流动诊疗所巴士,可到各地区为人们提供服务。

她披露,目前已注册的志工人数约600人,而在6月尾,推出的志工系统,將让志工进行注册,相信届时志工的人数会上涨至千人。

周美芬:组联合政府,非马来人將被边缘化

星洲日报2009.06.11

(雪兰莪沙亚南)马华雪州妇女组担心巫统一旦与回教党结合,將导致非马来人被边缘化,因此不赞同回教党提出与巫统组织联合政府的建议。

马华妇女组主席兼雪州妇女组主席拿汀巴杜卡周美芬表示,马华妇女组不认同回教党的理念,並认为巫统没有必要跟回教党组联合政府。

她週三(6月10日)晚上主持马华雪州妇女组会议后向媒体表示,回教党最近的所做所为,证明该党脱离不了“本性”,言论和实际所倡导的並不一致。

针对回教党要求回教裁决理事会查禁回教姐妹组织的课题,周美芬表示,任何组织只要获得社团註册局批准成立,即意味著当局认同有关组织;只要有关组织不危害社会秩序与安全,就应享有自由的发言权。

她指出,回教党提出这项要求,是侵犯组织及人民自由的不合理做法,马华雪州妇女组希望,回教党撤销这个上週在全国代表大会通过的议案。

另外,针对吉兰丹哥打峇鲁市议会对女性运动服装提出限制,周美芬说:“运动服装最重要是適合运动,我们尊重他们的宗教,但不等同他们可以侵犯或规定其他宗教社群的服装。”

她说,由於不能苟同回教党的做法,因此马华雪州妇女组希望民联其他成员党,撇开同盟关係,严厉谴责回教党。

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Kempen "What Women Want"

AmAssurance lancar kempen ambil ejen wanita
Berita Harian 9hb Jun 2009

AMASSURANCE Bhd semalam melancarkan inisiatif tanggungjawab korporat sosialnya (CSR) bertemakan What Women Want, iaitu kempen pengambilan ejen insurans khusus bagi wanita.

Ketua Eksekutifnya, Ng Lian Lu, berkata What Women Want adalah kempen pengambilan 1,500 wanita terpilih yang akan dilatih menjadi pakar dalam bidang kewangan menerusi latihan AmAssurance dikenali sebagai AmAcademy. Katanya, AmAcademy adalah pusat latihan, pendidikan dan perkembangan yang dijenamakan semula untuk memberi latihan bagi pengambilan baru dan ejen sedia ada menerusi lima fakulti utama iaitu jualan, teknikal, perkembangan peribadi dan agensi serta kepemimpinan.

“Selain memberi peluang pekerjaan, saya percaya dengan penyerapan tambahan 1,500 ejen insurans kepada 3,500 ejen sedia ada, ia akan melancarkan lagi sasaran kami untuk mencapai sekurang-kurangnya 10 peratus pertumbuhan premium dalam tahun kewangan semasa berakhir 31 Mac 2010,” katanya.

Beliau berkata demikian pada majlis pelancaran kempen What Women Want oleh Timbalan Menteri Wanita, Keluarga dan Pembangunan Masyarakat Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun di Kuala Lumpur, semalam. Ng berkata, pengambilan 1,500 ejen insurans akan dijalankan menerusi anak syarikat insurans hayat, AmLife Insurance Bhd, menerusi pameran bergerak di seluruh Malaysia.

Katanya, pameran akan diadakan mulai Julai hingga November 2009, bermula di Kuching pada 4 Julai, Johor Bharu (1 Ogos), Georgetown (29 Ogos), Petaling Jaya (31 Oktobe) dan Kota Bharu (7 November). “Sesiapa berminat boleh mendaftar melalui portal e-daftar di www.amassurance.com.my, tiga minggu sebelum tarikh temu duga,” katanya. sambil menambah peserta yang berjaya menamatkan kursus dua tahun akan diberi diploma dalam perkhidmatan kewangan.

Sementara itu, Chew menggesa golongan wanita terutama Bumiputera merebut peluang menyertai kempen berkenaan.

Katanya, kerajaan memperuntukkan bantuan kewangan 80 peratus menerusi dana latihan Bumiputera kepada wanita Bumiputera berjaya mengikuti kursus berkenaan. “Ini bermakna mereka hanya perlu bayar RM2,000 untuk mendapatkan diploma selama dua tahun itu,” katanya.

Dalam perkembangan berkaitan, Chew berkata sejumlah 33,809 kakitangan daripada 1,122 syarikat telah diberhenti kerja, manakala 7,602 daripada 202 syarikat lagi meninggalkan pekerjaan di bawah skim pemberhentian sukarela (VSS) bagi tempoh Oktober 2008 hingga pertengahan Mac 2009.

Katanya, berdasarkan perangkaan Persekutuan Majikan Malaysia, jumlah pengangguran dijangka meningkat kepada 200,000 tahun ini, lebih tinggi berbanding 85,000 pengangguran semasa krisis kewangan Asia pada 1998. Beliau berkata, kebanyakan pekerja yang diberhentikan adalah wanita, yang hanya merangkumi 35 peratus jumlah tenaga kerja Malaysia.

“Justeru, kempen What Women Want ini amat dialu-alukan terutama dalam keperitan mengharungi kemelesetan ekonomi pada masa ini. “Saya berharap, lebih banyak inisiatif seperti ini akan diperkenalkan syarikat lain pada masa akan datang” katanya.

丹州设女性运动服装标准,周美芬深感不满

马华妇女组主席周美芬对吉兰丹哥打巴鲁市议会在公园竖立告示牌,告诫回教徒和非回教徒女性的运动服装指南深表不满。

“人们日常生活,无论是运动或上班甚至是休闲,只要穿上适当得体而不暴露的衣服就没有人有理由或权力进行干涉。这种自由释放诸四海皆准的,是连政府也不应,也无权干涉的!"

她说,回教党歧视女性,侵犯女性权益的政策层出不穷,不但侵犯妇女人权,也严重冲击非回教徒女性的日常生活作息。

“回教党一再针对女性服装开刀,问题是,是不是只有回教党的服装标准才算是得体端庄,其他人的服装就是“性感、碍眼”?难道回教党的那一套就是道德高尚,其他人的标准就是道德沦丧。”

周美芬批评回教党领袖充斥大男人沙文主义,接连制定穿着条规管制妇女的自由,包括禁止妇女使用口红和穿高跟鞋,将妇女看作是男人的奴役,侵犯妇女的人权。

“我们严厉谴责回教党以福利国包装回教化,在政策中渐进式推行回教化议程,包括宣扬回教价值,强化回教教义,欺骗选民。”

Wanita MCA: Dress code by PAS infringes human rights

Press Statement issued by Wanita MCA National Chairman Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun over the decision by Kota Bharu Municipal Council to enforce standards on women’s sportswear in the park

Responding to a news article published inSin Chew Jit Poh today on the Kota Bharu Municipal Council’s decision to enforce sportswear standards, Wanita MCA National Chairman Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun today opposed the said decision. It was reported that the Kota Bharu Municipal Council had put up a sign in a park informing PAS members, as well as non-members, that women’s sportswear standards have become morally unacceptable.

Mei Fun insists that “no one has the right to infringe on the way people dress, whether it be for sports or at work, or even resting at home, as long as it is not too revealing. This is an internationally recognized right, and not even the government should have the authority to interfere.”

Mei Fun remarked that the sexist policies undertaken by PAS not only curtail the rights and liberties of women, but they also impact their daily lives.

“PAS insists on the issue of women’s clothing, but the real question is, who are they to set the standards? Why must they label the dressing of others as, ‘too sexy’ or ‘inappropriate?’ The rhetoric of PAS seems to be that they are morally superior, while everyone else is deemed morally bankrupt,” she pointed out.

Mei Fun also criticized the PAS leadership for their excessive male chauvinism, and setting limits on women’s freedom, including a ban on lipstick and high heels. “This make it seem that women are almost the slaves of men, and in turn, restricts their basic human rights.”

“We severely condemn the PAS leadership in taking steps to promote an Islamist state, including introducing Islamist policies, and propagating extremist values. In enforcing these principles, they are in fact deceiving the general populace,” she reiterated.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Wanita MCA Bidas Syor Kekal Kuota Bumiputera

Berita Harian 9hb Jun 2009

KUALA LUMPUR: Wanita MCA membidas pendirian Pemuda Pas yang mahu kerajaan mengekalkan kuota 30 peratus ekuiti Bumiputera kerana menganggap ia tidak membantu memajukan negara dan hanya berkepentingan jangka pendek.

Ketuanya, Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun, berkata sebaliknya Pemuda Pas wajar mengkaji langkah kerajaan mengubah kuota terbabit dalam usaha membantu meningkatkan ekonomi negara untuk jangka masa panjang. “Kami percaya pemindahan kuota dalam mana-mana sektor komersial harus diterima sebagai salah satu cara untuk menggerakkan persaingan dalam bidang ekonomi serta meningkatkan tahap profesional dan produktiviti,” katanya dalam kenyataan di sini, semalam.

Dalam perkembangan lain, Chew berharap langkah liberalisasi 27 subsektor perkhidmatan yang diumumkan Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Razak baru-baru ini akan diteruskan dan isu keperluan kuota tidak akan ditimbulkan semula pada masa depan. “Langkah liberalisasi ini juga dapat meningkatkan pelaburan asing yang boleh membantu meningkatkan taraf ekonomi yang sedang dilanda krisis memandangkan ia seiring dengan integrasi serantau Asean dan situasi globalisasi kini. “Liberalisasi ini juga akan mewujudkan peluang pekerjaan, peningkatan prospek kewangan dan seterusnya memastikan taraf ekonomi terjamin,” katanya.

Baru-baru ini akhbar melaporkan, Pemuda Pas yang mengadakan muktamarnya meluluskan resolusi supaya menggesa kerajaan mengekalkan dasar ekuiti 30 peratus untuk Bumiputera. Resolusi itu antara lima resolusi yang diluluskan Pemuda Pas dalam Muktamar Pas yang berakhir Ahad lalu.

Launch of What Women Want CSR Campaign


Speech by YB Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun
Deputy Minister of Women, Family and Community Development
@ Launch of What Women Want CSR Campaign
organised by AmBank Group

First of all, I wish to express my gratitude to AmBank Group for inviting me to grace the first-of-its-kind women focused recruitment campaign, called “What Women Want”. I must also take this opportunity to commend the efforts of AmBank Group’s insurance arm, AmAssurance for initiating this noble campaign to offer 1,500 employment opportunities to all Malaysian women.

In today’s fast-paced world, it can be noticeably seen that women have progressed and made inroads and also, earned recognition in many fields. Women of today or the New Age Woman are holding senior positions, owner of companies and professionals in all in all fields of professions previously dominated by men. In Malaysia, statistics show that women represent almost half of the total workforce as in 2008.

Recently, the International Labour Organisation reported that the women unemployment rate in year 2008 stood at 6.3% as compared to 5.9% for men. This year, the organisation predicts a global rise in women unemployment of up to 22 million.

In Malaysia, a total of 33,809 workers have been retrenched from 1,122 firms, while another 7,602 from 202 firms had left their jobs under the voluntary separation schemes or VSS from October 2008 to mid-March 2009. Based on the statistics provided by the Malaysian Employers Federation, the unemployment figure is expected to rise to 200,000 this year, compared to our previous economic slowdown in 1998 with 85,000 job lay offs.

Ladies and Gentlemen, with the rapid urbanisation that the country is undergoing, women are not only playing a major role at home, but also contributing their skills and knowledge at the workplace and in the country to sustain the nation’s economy growth. Therefore, it is regrettable that women are the first to be singled out when a company’s performance declines.

The Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development had conducted various training programme to educate women on financial management and to encourage them to practice good financial management both for their personal finance and of their families.

In this respect, I am truly impressed with this initiative mooted by AmAssurance to provide numerous opportunities for Malaysian women to advance their career in this difficult and tough economic environment. In line with the vision of the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development to attain gender equality at work, AmAssurance is taking a proactive stance to help the government in providing more jobs for women despite the global economic slowdown.

The participation of women in the nation’s economic activities is no longer an option, but a prerequisite to boost Malaysia’s competitiveness. A study showed that women’s education and entrepreneurship are on the rise. Women represent more than one-third of all people involved in entrepreneurship activities; while 40 to 50 percent of 73 million active entrepreneurs across 34 nations are women. In Malaysia, some 60,000 women-owned businesses are registered each year.

Thus far, the Ministry through the Department of Women’s Development (JPW) had conducted 201 financial management and literacy programme called “Ringgit Bestari” all over Malaysia. This programme had benefited more than 23,970 participants.

And in response to the recent economic downturn, JPW had held a special programme “Round-Table Discussion on Women’s Perspectives in the Economic Crisis”. This one-day interactive programme was targeted to impart knowledge and understanding amongst the participants on the global economic situation, the incentives under the Malaysia’s Stimulus Package to boost up the nation’s economy and also other initiatives from the Government to help women in particular to survive in this time of crisis.

These initiatives include training and retraining programme for the retrenched workers provided by the Ministry of Human Resource, opportunities in agro-business and micro-credit schemes.

This programme was targeted for women NGO’s leaders in order for them to disseminate the information to the other women at the grass root level.

Before I end my speech, let me once again congratulate Tan Sri and the AmBank Group for such an excellent job in putting together this campaign.

Eliminating gender disparity is one of the key visions of my ministry of promoting equal opportunities for both women and men at work. Hence, the efforts of AmAssurance in assisting the women in the country is highly commendable and should serve as a benchmark which obviously will be a role model to be emulated by other private sector corporations.

Last but not least, I wish AmAssurance all the best in their future endeavours and with that, I would like to officially declare the “What Women Want” campaign, open.

Thank you.

女性企業家一樣棒‧《星洲日報》18日聯辦研會分享經驗

星洲日報‧2009.06.08

周美芬(右五)為婦女企業發展中心標誌主持推介;左起為梁湘棱、黎美君、蔡岳州、謝念芳、尤綽韜、蔡鳳玲(右起)、葉琰明、江雪霞和周淑媛。(圖:星洲日報)

(吉隆坡)由馬華婦女組婦女企業發展中心與星洲日報聯辦,第一屆亞洲女性企業研討會將於6月18日在大馬工藝園舉辦。

研討會將邀請來自各國的成功女性企業家分享經驗,其中包括星洲媒體集團執行董事沈賽芬。

馬華婦女組主席拿汀巴杜卡周美芬在新聞發佈會上說,婦女組將於8月推出婦女企業發展中心,這項研討會的舉辦將促進大馬婦女企業家的發展。

討論創業市場營銷
她感激《星洲日報》的支持與協助,為女性企業家提供交流機會,並提高他們的才能和競爭力。
“研討會將討論企業創業、市場營銷、社會企業家精神和資訊工藝等,讓人們掌握企業竅門。”
她補充,研討會以英語進行,歡迎各界人士參與,而有興趣的男性也可報名參加。

另外,周美芬也為婦女企業發展中心標誌主持推介,並希望此中心能成就更多女企業家和協助女性在財務方面的獨立。

出席者包括,星洲日報總經理(業務促進)謝念芳、馬華婦女組署理主席拿督尤綽韜、總財政周淑媛、士布爹區會婦女組主席蔡岳州、中委拿督江雪霞、葉琰明、蔡鳳玲、女青年局代表黎美君和梁湘棱。

《星洲日報》讀者優惠價報名
馬華資訊工藝培訓中心首席營運員馮煜儀說,第一屆亞洲女性企業研討會的報名費為每人200令吉,而附上2張星洲日報6月份報頭的讀者,則可以優惠價100令吉報名。有興趣參與者,可聯絡:03-21611618;遊覽:http://wbx-ap.com/

Chew slams PAS Youth

http://www.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2009/6/9/nation/4073784&sec=nation
Tuesday June 9, 2009

KUALA LUMPUR: Wanita MCA has criticised PAS Youth for condemning the Government’s decision to remove the 30% bumiputra equity from 27 service sub-sectors.

The wing’s chief Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun said the move was in compliance with requirements of the Asean Economic Community and the World Trade Organisation of which Malaysia was a member.

“Any race-based policies and restrictions can impede free trade, thus discouraging local and foreign investments,” she said in a statement yesterday.

Chew was responding to PAS Youth delegate Ahmad Sabki Yusof who, during the party’s 55th Muktamar, said that the Government should not remove the 30% bumiputra quota for the sub-sectors.

Chew said PAS Youth should accept liberalisation as a means of boosting economic competitiveness.

Gerakan vice-president Datuk Mah Siew Kong also rapped PAS Youth for calling on the Government to reverse its decision on the liberalisation of the 27 service sub-sectors.
He said the move taken by the Government was to ensure that the country remained competitive and to attract foreign investments to spur economic recovery.

“I am shocked and repulsed by the hypocrisy of PAS and Pakatan Rakyat. On one hand we have Lim Kit Siang (DAP adviser) lauding the decision and the other hand PAS is calling it a step backward. I am asking what is happening in PR,” he said in a statement.

Mah, who is also Gerakan Central Economic Bureau chairman, said this showed that Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s Ketuanan Rakyat agenda stops at the door of PAS.

He described it as a great deception perpetrated against the people and urged everyone to collectively repudiate divide-and-rule politics.

Conference for women entrepreneurs

http://www.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2009/6/9/nation/4074235&sec=nation
Tuesday June 9, 2009

KUALA LUMPUR: The first Asia Women Business Power Conference targeted at female entrepreneurs will be held on June 18.

This marks the first collaboration between Wanita MCA and the MCA ICT Resource Centre (MIRC).

“We are catering to women who are interested in getting involved in or starting new businesses,” said Wanita MCA chairman Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun.

The event, which will provide a platform for participants to network and be inspired, will be held at Technology Park Malaysia .

“We accept the fact that in the business world, you need a joint effort from men and women to make a business work. Therefore, we encourage men to join as well so that they can have a better understanding and hopefully, a good partnership with women,” she told a press conference yesterday.

Also present was MIRC Incubator Sdn Bhd chief operating officer Alice Foong. For information and the conference fee, please call 03-2161 1618 or visit http://www.wbx-ap.com/.

Monday, June 8, 2009

SPEECH BY YB DATIN PADUKA CHEW MEI FUN,
National Chairman of Wanita MCA cum
Deputy Minister of Women, Family and Community Development
@ soft Launch of WEDC Logo
8 June 2009

I am pleased to announce a joint effort between MCA ICT Resource Centre (MIRC) and Women Entrepreneur Development Centre Sdn Bhd (WEDC) in launching the:
1) 1st Asia Women Business Power Conference which is endorsed by the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development and;

2) Women Entrepreneur Development Centre (WEDC) logo which reflects our initiative of developing women entrepreneurship

WEDC aims to promote and nurture women businesses towards penetrating the local and possibly in the future even into global market through networking, market access, skills and business development programmes.

The 1st Asia Women Business Power Conference marks our first collaborative programme with MIRC in promoting WEDC to women entrepreneurs. We are proud to work with MIRC to realize the success of this conference which we believe will offer women entrepreneurs the opportunity to network, be empowered and inspired; and improve their capabilities.

This is a good platform for women entrepreneurs to know more about how WEDC can assist them in their businesses. This conference also aims to share topics in empowering and inspiring women entrepreneurship. The highlight of this event is the creation of an Asia Women Business Network which will become a platform to foster closer cooperation among women entrepreneurs throughout the region. It will feature renowned speakers as far as from Thailand, Vietnam and Laos and local successful women from stem cell to technopreneur industry. This conference promises to be both inspiring and motivational to all participants as the speakers will share knowledge learned and wisdom gained from their entrepreneurial journey.

In conjunction with the joint collaboration with MIRC in organising this upcoming 1st Asia Women Business Power Conference, I would like to take this opportunity to launch the logo of Women Entrepreneur Development Centre (WEDC) which will be officially launched soon. The logo symbolizes the core focus of this entrepreneur development centre which is women. Orange is used as a primary colour for the logo as it signifies vitality, high-spirit, energy and liveliness.



This is how we would like our WEDC centre to be known- as an entrepreneur development centre full of vitality, high-spirited, energetic and lively aimed at empowering women economically.

The 1st Asia Women Business Power Conference is one of projects in the pipeline which we have launched in building up momentum of WEDC. We believe with all these preliminary projects, we have set a strong foundation for WEDC to move forward.

WEDC is a project deep in my heart which I wished to implement all this years. Wanita MCA will take the lead in realizing key development of this centre. WEDC will be playing a vital role in the development and promotion of women entrepreneurs in Malaysia’s economic development as its main objective is to help introduce women from poor and economically challenged families into empowering programmes that can assist them into gaining economic self-sufficiency and financial independence.

We hope that with WEDC and leveraging on MIRC’s vast expertise on incubation, we will be able to support women to sustain their livelihood and essentially contribute back socially and economically at large.

With that, I launch the 1st Asia Women Business Power Conference and the logo of Women Entrepreneur Development Centre (WEDC).

Thank you.

Wanita MCA blasts PAS Youth for failing to recognize global trend of trade liberalisation

8 June 09

Press statement by Wanita MCA Chairman Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun slamming PAS Youth who condemned Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib for liberalizing 27 service subsectors and for their stand against abolishing the 30% Bumiputera quota

When Prime Minister YAB Dato’ Sri Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak announced the liberalization of 27 subsectors on 22 April 2009, his announcement was welcomed by Malaysians. The Prime Minister’s announcement reinforced his announcement on 24 October 2008 that the Government was moving towards the liberalization of the NEP. MCA has always stressed that creating opportunities should be based on a need-and-income basis rather than race centric.

This is in line with the 3 Thrusts for MCA’s transformation as well as the 1-Malaysia concept mooted by the Prime Minister. Unfortunately, PAS Youth disagrees and is adamant that assistance be given on race-basis rather than need.

PAS Youth must recognize that the liberalization of the 27 sectors is in compliance with the country’s membership in the ASEAN Economic Community and the World Trade Organisation. The relaxation of regulations is also in line with ASEAN’s trade liberalization which will be implemented soon. In view of the trend of globalization, protectionist policies and quota restrictions impede free trade which is already practised in fully developed nations.

MCA has been consistent in our position that quota restrictions should be gradually loosened. The removal of quotas in any commercial sector should be accepted as a means of propelling economic competitiveness, thus enhancing professionalism and upgrade of the industries alongside with increased productivity.

MCA also hopes that liberalising the 27 sectors will be permanently maintained and that quota requirements will not be re-invoked in future. Similarly, there should not be micro-restructuring in any other sector to substitute the lifting of quotas here.

A level playing field spurs further local and foreign direct investment into Malaysia which will boost our local economy which currently is experiencing a downslide due to the effects of the worldwide economic crunch.

Through liberalization of the 27 sectors, employment opportunities are created, financial prospects boosted, thus ensuring economic viability. Our anxiety about local and foreign investors moving their investments to other countries will be considerably decreased. We have to bear in mind that the free enterprise approach spearheads equal opportunities and competitiveness by enabling participation from everyone. Hence, it would be in national interest to fully liberalise every other sector which still contain restrictions.

周美芬警告勿企图实施塔利班回教政策

回教党又在批评女性衣着!

女性衣着再次引起回教党的争论!这次矛头直指采访线上的女记者,没有戴头巾被回教党套上穿着不端庄的罪名。

马华妇女组主席周美芬对回教党代表在回教党大会上,接连批评女记者没有戴头巾采访,衣冠不符回教穿着的事件感到厌恶,并警告回教党勿企图在国内实施塔利班的回教化政策。

周美芬说,强制非回教徒女记者戴头巾的呼吁,显示回教党的狭隘思想是向阿富汗的塔利班政权看齐。

“除了坚持落实回教刑事法是该党的终极目标外,另一个令人担忧的是,回教党企图管制妇女的自由,将妇女看作是男人的奴役。”

“塔利班统治下的阿富汗妇女必须全身罩在连帽的长袍中,不准露出身体的任何部分,她们没有受教育的权利,被规定关在家中,除非父亲、兄弟或丈夫陪伴外,一律不准出门。我们应该制止回教党在国内实行任何歧视和约束女性的封建回教化措施。”

此外,周美芬补充,回教党代表呼吁对媒体制定衣着条规,要求非回教徒女记者穿戴头巾是强制他人遵守该党的条规,属实过分行径,严重侵犯基本人权,并促请该党开明和尊重尤其是非回教徒的服装穿着自由。

“女记者的工作是采访回教党大会的新闻,衣着何辜?按照回教党代表的逻辑,只要女性穿戴头巾才算庄重?我对回教党代表又在批评女性服装感到反感,这更加凸现他们的无知和父权至上的霸权思维,一味要求女性符合男性的要求。”

周美芬促请回教党认清现在女性的角色和社会地位今非昔比,经过社会的文明发展进程,今时今日的我国女性也能和男性并驾齐驱,在职业上和财务能力平起平坐。

“在这个课题上,女性尤其是非回教徒有穿着自由,回教党有必要矫正与教化该党党员对女性装扮的认知和尊重,体认男女之间的平权发展与两性尊重,领导两性迈向一个互重互敬的社会。”

7.6.2009

Chew Mei Fun – “Malaysia must prevent the spread of Talibanisation led by PAS”

Press Statement issued by Wanita MCA National Chairman Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun rejecting calls by PAS delegates that women reporters must cover up and be separated from men

Wanita MCA rejects calls by PAS delegates that women reporters must cover up and be separated from men: Chew Mei Fun – “Malaysia must prevent the spread of Talibanisation led by PAS”

Wanita MCA National Chairman YB Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun today was aghast at the criticisms by several delegates at PAS general assembly against women reporters covering PAS functions who did not cover up their heads.

It was reported inThe Star on 7 Jun 09 that a PAS delegate from Penang, Tapiudin Hamzah had hit out at women members of the media who had not covered their heads, saying that even if they did not own headscarves, they could at least make an attempt to cover their heads with handkerchiefs of even rags. Another PAS representative from Pahang questioned why women members of the media were allowed to mingle freely with their male colleagues.

Mei Fun decried, “the narrow minded thinking perpetuated by PAS delegates is the forefront of the Talibanisation of Malaysia should PAS ever seize federal power. Apart their vehement insistence of establishing an Islamic state which calls for hudud and syariah laws to be imposed even on non-Muslims, what is equally worrisome is that PAS intends to regulate women, thus subjugating them as inferior to men as evidenced with their chastising against women reporters who were carrying out their assignments.”

Noting that women members of the media were decently attired when reporting events, the Wanita MCA chairman did not conceal her fears of PAS descending into the footsteps of the Talibans in Afghanistan. “During the Taliban rule of Afghanistan, women were forced and still are expected by societal pressure to be wrapped from head to toe in burqas. They were not allowed to be educated. Neither could they leave their homes without being accompanied by a male family member. At all costs, Malaysia must prevent the spread of Talibanisation led by PAS.”

“Perhaps PAS had forgotten that during the Bukit Gantang by-election campaign rounds, the female reporters who had covered Dato’ Seri Nizar Jamaluddin’s movements wore the same type of attire which they did at PAS’muktamar. There appears to be double standards in PAS whereby when they want votes and publicity for their election campaign, they do not object to the audience and members of the media of both genders sitting and mingling together. But at their AGM, they demand female members of the media to cover up and deny them the freedom to double check their notes with their male counterparts. PAS should be aware that sometimes journalists would refer to each other’s notes for clarity.”

Mei Fun also called on PAS to be mindful that co-education schools, boys and girls learn together. “PAS should also observe that in co-education schools, female and male pupils are taught together in classrooms where they also sit next to each other and intermingle with each other during physical education classes, recess and after school hours while waiting for their transport to go home.”

Lastly, Mei Fun urged PAS delegates to recognize that women today are no more of yesteryears where they were confined to the domestic sphere. “Overcoming many traditional hurdles of the past, Malaysian women today are career minded and hold jobs no different from men. PAS should recognize that over the generations, women have progressed greatly. Rather than relegating women, PAS should treat women as equals, respect and support the advancement of women in whatever jobs they pursue. Perhaps PAS is not aware that in any working environment, it is natural that men and women are bound to meet each other.

Wanita MCA also challenged DAP and PKR to voice out clearly and loudly against their Pakatan Rakyat counterpart PAS’ narrow ways to prove their sincerity in rejecting anything extremist.

爭取外籍配偶享公民身份‧周美芬備忘錄呈內長

光明日報‧2009.06.05

(吉隆坡)馬華婦女組主席拿汀巴杜卡周美芬強調,政府應該給予所有合法婚姻的外籍配偶享有與公民同等的身份,而這些配偶也應該履行納稅的責任。

她表示,馬華婦女組和婦女援助機構、馬華策略分析與政策研究所(INSAP)將會儘快草擬一份“外籍配偶權益”備忘錄,以呈給新任內政部長希山慕丁,促請內政部著手解決懸而未決的外籍配偶所面對的問題。

她表示,這一份備忘錄將涵蓋長久以來困擾外籍配偶的各項問題,包括簽證、永久居留、工作准證及孩子簽證等,它將是一份完整資料的備忘錄,主要是希望內政部能與時進,修改及修正一些法案,以公平及公正的解決問題。

周美芬也是婦女、家庭及社會發展部副部長,她是今日(週五,6月5日)為一項由馬華婦女組和馬華政策研究局舉辦的外籍配偶權益工作坊主持開幕後,在記者會上如此表示。

泰國配偶佔大多數
她表示,根據前內政部長賽哈密之前公佈的數據,大馬約有近10萬名外籍配偶,而於2001至2008年間,政府發出8600張簽證給外籍配偶和他們的孩子。他們當中泰國配偶佔大多數,其次是印尼和印度、新加坡、菲律賓。這顯示大馬的外籍配偶的人數經非常龐大,政府是有必要關注,並著手解決。

她表示,政府在處理外籍配偶的地位上,應該糾正性別歧視,即使是現在政府允許外籍女性配偶在大馬工作,可是她們依然必須獲得丈夫簽署同意書,但外籍丈夫卻不會面對這樣的問題。

另外,在申請居留簽證或永久居留條件上,外籍妻子必須只能以婚姻關係為申請後盾,而不像外籍丈夫,可以通過工作理由申請。“在這種情況下,一旦婚姻出現問題,就引發許多問題,比如丈夫不願攜帶妻子到移民廳去辦延長簽證,導致妻子最後被驅趕離國。如果他們育有孩子,那受苦的將會是無辜的孩子。”

周美芬也希望政府能夠減少申請這類證件的繁文縟節,簡化申請程序,讓合法結婚的外籍配偶可以更快獲得公民地位。

居留2年可申請公民
她表示,根據大馬法律,一名外籍妻子只要在大馬居留超過2年才可以提出申請公民,而她們要申請成為永久居留,則必須至少要居留5年才會受到當局考慮。

“至於外籍丈夫,則申請條件更為苛刻,他必須居留在大馬至少10年才符合申請的最基本條例。”

周美芬表示,基於這種種問題,婦女組希望通過週五的工作坊,收集各方專業單位的知識,擬定完整備忘錄。

同時,內政部長特別顧問也在記者會上承諾會協助安排婦女組與內政部長的會見及提呈忘錄。

Wanita MCA setting up counselling centres for women and kids

The Star News : Sunday June 7, 2009

KOTA KINABALU: Underprivileged women and children around the country will soon have another place to turn to for help when counselling centres at MCA offices nationwide become operational.

Wanita MCA deputy chief Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun said the movement was hoping to get the counselling centres launched by month’s end.

“Some 150 counsellors for the centres are currently undergoing training,” said Chew, the Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister after launching a baby show here yesterday.

“We already have the counselling centres at 16 of the 22 MCA division offices in Selangor and we hope to get similar centres going soon at divisions in the various states,” she said.

She said the counselling centres was aimed at providing assistance to women and children facing emotional, health, financial, as well as other problems.

Meanwhile, Chew said the Wanita MCA in Sabah would be the next after Terengganu and Malacca to submit a memorandum against sexist remarks to the state assembly.

“We want to ensure a better environment at the assembly sittings and that there is no discrimination against women,” she added.

On yesterday’s event, Chew said efforts at promoting breastfeeding had to be continuous.

She said the number of Malaysian women who breastfed during the first six months after delivery had dropped by half from 29% in 1996 to barely 14% in 2006.

Treat foreign wives equally, says Chew

The Star News Saturday June 6, 2009

KUALA LUMPUR: Foreigners married to Malaysians should be treated equally as locals and be recognised as a part of our society, said Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun.

“It is ridiculous for pregnant foreign wives to pay double the medical fees when they are giving birth to Malaysian children,” she said after attending a forum and workshop on foreign spouses in Malaysia, organised by Wanita MCA and the Institute of Strategic Analysis and Policy Research here yesterday.

She said the party and the Women’s Aid Organisation had received requests from foreign spouses to help them obtain citizenship and permanent resident status.

MCA Public Services and Complaints Department head Datuk Michael Chong said he had dealt with cases of foreigners who were forced to return to their home country because their Malaysian husbands wanted to divorce them.

He would be presenting some solutions to Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.

Chew: to urge more mothers to pratice breastfeeding

Speech



A very good morning to all of you. Firstly, I would like to thank the Federation of the Chinese Associations of Sabah for inviting me to officiate this auspicious event this morning.

I was made to understand that one of the objective of this function is to highlight the joys of familyhood as a mean to boost the declining birth rate especially among the Chinese community.

Here, I would like to bring to your attention on the present birth statistics in our community. According to the Vital Statistical Reports from the Department of Statistics, the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) for 2005 showed that the TFR for the Malays is 2.9; the Chinese 1.9 and 2.0 for the Indians. The TFR showed a decline in 2007 whereby TFR for the Malays had dropped to 2.7; the Chinese to 1.8 and 1.9 for the Indians. The Chinese community is shown to have the lowest fertility rate. Total Fertility Rate is defined as the number of children that are born to a women during her reproductive age (15-49 years of age).

Many factors can contribute to this decline in fertility rate. Generally studies had shown that with increasing level of education, women tend to have lesser children. Increasing level of education goes parallel with better jobs and improved income. Another contributing factor is the increase in labour force participation of women especially among the Chinese community. Good jobs are usually available in the cities or big towns. Studies worldwide had shown that urbanization do contribute to the decline in Total Fertility Rate. Studies had shown that women tend to delay or postpone their marriage to allow more time to further their education and to develop their carrier. Delaying child bearing at a later age can affect a women’s fertility, which means that as women aged, she has difficulty of getting pregnant. Data from the Malaysian Population and Family Survey (MPFS4) conducted by LPPKN in 2004 showed that the average age of marriage for the Chinese community in Sabah is 29.3 years of age for the males and 26.3 years of age for females.

No married life can be complete without the presence of a daughter or a son. A child should be nurtured and provided with the best care right from birth. In this respect, I would like to emphasise on the importance of breastfeeding for babies. As I am sure most mothers are aware of the well-known benefits of breastfeeding: providing the perfect form of nutrition to your baby, strengthening your baby's immune system, enhancing the bond between you and your child, and helping you return to your pre-pregnancy weight more quickly.

With the rise of a more internet-savvy and well-informed faction of urban women, one would expect more mothers to breastfeed. In Malaysia, however, the number of women who breastfeed exclusively during the first six months remains very low, with a mere 14.5% who breastfeed their children up to six months in 2006, compared to 29% in 1996. (Reports from the National Health and Morbidity Surveys by Ministry of Health)

Although the commonly recognized benefits of breastfeeding are already extremely convincing, research continues to reveal countless more. Some of the findings showed that Breastfed babies are less likely to be overweight or obese as children and adults. Breast milk promotes brain development and intelligence. Children who are breastfed as babies score higher on IQ and cognitive tests than those who are formula-fed, regardless of socioeconomic status or mother's intelligence. Children who are breastfed during infancy are better able to cope with stress than those who are not breastfed. Breast feedings not only benefit the babies but he mothers as well. The most outstanding benefits are protection against breast and ovarian cancers, and the possible prevention of osteoporosis. The main problem with breastfeeding in Malaysia is maintenance, not initiation. Despite encourage mothers to breastfeed at the start, many stop once they return to work, especially with the convenience and availability of infant formulas around. Having a support group is very important for a women to continue breastfeeding up to 6 month or 2 years. They should turn to friends and family members for advice.

Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to urge more mothers especially among the Chinese community to practice breastfeeding. As I had mentioned earlier breastfeeding provide protection against breast cancer. Breast cancer is the number one cancer killer of women in Malaysia. Malaysian Breast Cancer Registry in 2003 reported that breast cancer incidence is higher among Chinese and Indian women compared to Malay women. Incidence of breast cancer among Malaysian Malay is 1: 28; Malaysian Indian is 1: 17 and Malaysian Chinese is 1:16.

The differences in incidence rates between the Malays and Chinese can be explained in terms of risk factors known to be associated with breast cancer. This can be attributed to the fact that the Chinese are more likely to have fewer children, have their first child late, and also to breastfeed for shorter periods. Other risk factors in the Chinese could be related to their generally higher socioeconomic status and diet, with a possible influence of genetics.

Ladies and Gentlemen, before I end, I take this opportunity to congratulate the Federation of Chinese Association Sabah, Women’s Bureau, Sabah Professional Fhotographers’ Society and Board of Visitors Likas Hospital for being the organisers of this memorable event.

On this note, it now gives me great pleasure in officiating “Our Little Wonders – Our Future” Baby Contest 2009.

Thank you.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Forum and Workshop on Foreign Spouses in Malaysia

Organised by WANITA MCA & Institute of Strategic Analysis and Policy Research (INSAP)

Officiating Speech by YB Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun, National Chairman of Wanita MCA cum Deputy Minister of Women, Family and Community Development



Firstly, I would like to extend our gratitude to the panel speakers- En Zaidi Bin Yahya, Chief Assistant Director of Visa, Pass and Permit Division of the Immigration Department; Ms Bina Ramanand, Coordinator of Foreign Spouses Support Group (FSSG) and Ms Pushpa Ratnam, Bar Council who have kindly accepted our invitation to speak at this forum which aims to inform us of the current laws and policies which affect foreign spouses; key challenges faced by foreign spouses; and best practices in other countries in relation to foreign spouses.

Secondly, I’d like to thank Ms Pushpa Ratnam from the Bar Council, Ms Alice Lee Sok Wah, Chairman of the Selangor and Wilayah Chinese Assembly Hall and Mr David Yoong, MCA Wilayah Public Service and Complaints Bureau, for agreeing to facilitate three breakout groups for Session 2 on topics right to stay, right to work and rights of children to foreign parent respectively. Thanks also to Sumitha Shaanthinni, Bar Council and Ivy Josiah from Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) in facilitating Session 3 and Session 4 respectively.

And to all the participants today, thank you for your time and efforts in participating in this forum and workshop with the aim of drafting a Joint Memorandum on Foreign Spouses in Malaysia to be presented to the Minister of Home Affairs.

Wanita MCA, a women’s wing of MCA firmly believes in upholding the principle of non-discrimination and gender equality. We also take interests in issues which affect the well being of all irrespective of gender, ethnicity or nationality.

As such, this forum and workshop was mooted out of our concern for long-standing challenges faced by foreign spouses, both foreign wives and husbands and also children of a foreign parent. Foreign spouses of Malaysian men and women continue to face numerous challenges on several fronts primarily on the issue of right to stay, right to work and rights of their children.

There is an estimated 100,000 foreign spouses in Malaysia. However, according to the former Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, there were more than 8,600 entry permits issued to foreigners including spouses and children of Malaysians to stay in the country between 2001-2008; of which the majority are Thais, second largest Indonesians followed by Indians, Singaporeans, Filipinos and other nationalities. (New Straits Times, 12 Mar 2009). Perhaps with the briefing later from Mr Zaidi Bin Yahya, we would be more informed of the status of foreign spouses with social visit visa, spousal visa, permanent residency and citizenship.

In discussing this issue on foreign spouses, we often hear challenges faced by foreign women married to Malaysian men, Malaysian women’s foreign husband and children. There is one commonality though- women!

In this 21st century, women still face discrimination and gender inequality primarily due to unequal gender relations between women and men. There are stereotypical gender roles and responsibilities attached to women and men which are often commonly accepted and uncontested by the general public. With gender stereotyping, there is a clear division of roles between men and women.

It is no wonder that there are different sets of standard applied to foreign spouse of a female citizen as opposed to foreign spouse to a male citizen in respect of right to stay, right to work and right of conferring citizenship to children. Such disparity may also be reflected in national policies and laws in Malaysia such as the Federal Constitution and immigration laws where provisions are silent for foreign spouse of female Malaysian citizen. Thus, there is an impending need to review policies and laws which are less favourable towards women.

Right to stay, right to work and rights of children to foreign parent are core issues affecting foreign spouses in Malaysia.

On the issue of right to stay, both foreign wives and foreign husbands face an array of challenges with regard to renewal of social visit pass or spousal visa and application for permanent residency and citizenship. As we understand, the process of renewal for spousal visa and process of application for residency and citizenship is often lengthy and cumbersome for many foreign spouses because of the need for frequent renewals, ranging from monthly, quarterly to half-yearly.

Next, the mandatory requirement for the presence of the sponsor of a foreign spouse which is usually the Malaysian female or male citizen poses great challenge to most. Such mandatory requirement for the presence of the sponsor is particularly problematic in cases involving domestic violence. This would put women in very precarious situation where they are vulnerable to further abuse and may have to continue enduring violence in their home for fear of being deported.

Compounding this would be if the foreign wife has children who are Malaysians, she would fear having to be deported without her children. Similarly in situations where their husband disappears or in the case of divorce, the foreign wife faces real risk of deportation without a sponsor. Thus, foreign wives may be stranded here in Malaysia for she may not be able to return to her home country with her children due to various factors such as financial constraints and that her children need to stay in Malaysia since they are Malaysian citizens.

However, the issue in question is the right of stay of foreign wife who has stayed in Malaysia for some good years and has the intention to stay in Malaysia. Do our Federal Constitution and immigration policies and laws permit such circumstances or even accord the right to stay to a foreign spouse, especially those with children?

What about the right to stay of a foreign husband married to a Malaysian female citizen compared to a foreign wife? In reality, they face different standards in terms of their right to stay. Based on the NGO Shadow report on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) 2005, foreign husbands can stay in Malaysia on social visit passes whilst foreign wives on dependent passes. Further, they face delays in their application for permanent residency; in some cases, even rejection within a month of application for entry permit by foreign husbands, whilst application for the same by foreign wives would not be outright rejected but still be in the process of ‘pending approval’. There appears to be a double standard in procedure for the application of PR status between foreign husbands and wives to Malaysian citizens where foreign husband can only apply based on his employment status whilst for foreign wife just by virtue of her marriage to a Malaysian citizen. In addition, a foreign wife is eligible to apply for permanent residency with a minimum of 5 years continuous residency in Malaysia, however for foreign husbands, the minimum requirement is 10 years.

Similarly, in the case of citizenship- while it is expressly stipulated in Article 15(1) of the Federal Constitution that any woman whose husband is a Malaysian citizen and with continuous residence in Malaysia for at least two years prior to application is entitled to apply to be a citizen; however such privilege is not equally accorded to a man married to a Malaysian woman. The foreign husband may have to resort to applying for citizenship under Article 19 of the Federal Constitution which requires the stay of 10 years in the country. As such our Immigration laws may not be fair to the male spouse of a Malaysian woman.

To our understanding, it is the prerogative of the Immigration Department to accept or reject any application for PR. As such, most applicants are not informed of reasons for their rejected application. Similarly for citizenship, a foreign wife is entitled to apply for citizenship after 2 years of stay in Malaysia, in reality many foreign wives are still not citizens of Malaysia.

Next, on the issue of right to work for foreign spouses, reports have shown that the process of getting a job is much easier for an expatriate or even spouse of expatriate than foreign spouses of Malaysians. Some foreign wives with high qualification could not obtain PR to work. In relation to right to work for foreign husband, they are required to fulfil certain conditions. Foreign husbands who may not be professionals or technically skilled would be denied right to work and right to stay. According to paragraph 3(1) of the Immigration (Prohibition of Entry) Order 1983, non-professional foreign men married to Malaysian women face the risk of losing their work permits or visa. This may result in an overwhelming burden on the female Malaysian citizen with foreign spouse having to support her family. This may even drive Malaysia women married to foreign spouses to leave Malaysia for other countries just to continue to survive in the interest of her family.

The other disparity is that foreign husbands are allowed to stay for one year on a social visit pass to look for gainful employment from September 2001 onwards, however, such is not required of foreign wives- they can stay on social visit visa as dependents.

And lastly, the impending issue of rights of children of a foreign parent. Malaysian women who give birth to children outside Malaysia do not enjoy the same rights as their Malaysian male counterpart who could confer citizenship to their children irrespective of their place of birth. Again, in the event of separation and divorce where the Malaysian woman would like to return home with her children, they may face some challenges. If her children were not born in Malaysia, her children may not share the same privilege to free education as other children who are Malaysian would.

In sum, different standards applied to foreign wife and foreign husband in Malaysia due to disparity in laws, policies and implementation of policies and laws in relation to the right to stay, right to work and rights of children to a foreign parent undoubtedly reflects the gender role stereotype of men as breadwinners and women as dependents.

Thus, we are gathered here today to deliberate all challenges facing foreign spouses from right to stay, right to work to rights of their children. Today Wanita MCA is taking the initiative to ease the burden of foreign spouses.

Given the old adage that love is blind, if I may add- love is colour blind, thus love knows no boundaries of race, colour, nationality. If someone were to fall in love with a person from another country, our country should be able to accord the spouse of our Malaysian friends with basic rights and privileges as a human being.

I am confident that we as a collective would be able to come up with a joint memorandum with substantive recommendations given the extensive experience on the ground and knowledge from all of you on challenges facing foreign spouses. Our efforts would bring us a step closer in promoting and protecting rights of foreign spouses in Malaysia in line with our national and international pledge in promoting non-discrimination and gender equality for women.

Once again, on behalf of the organisers, I would like to thank all NGOs and component parties who are here today to support this forum. It is our fervent hope that we could also work closely in future in other issues which is of best interest to the nation as a whole but also in particular in the best interest of women.

And with that, I officiate this Forum and Workshop on Foreign spouses in Malaysia.
Thank you.