Friday, December 16, 2011

AWL X'mas Networking Session (15.12.2011)

AWL celebrates the end of a good year at "Chef & Brew", Damansara Heights.

  It's been an interesting year, a baptism of fire for me in terms of being exposed to legal activism from the feminist perspective.

After joining AWL, I frankly say that it has enriched my life. I have met many women lawyers including those who are no longer members of the Bar having ventured into other professions. These women are willing to support the association and its members with many stories and experiences to share.

AWL can be a rich source of female mentors for young aspiring lawyers and if all of us play a part in increasing the membership numbers, we can indeed become a formidable organisation, to serve as a support group for one another and also, to increase our talent base for legal activism.

Anyway, I digress. Back to the party:

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Good company, good food followed by a game of charades.

  Here is Kiran trying to act out her first word, the game had many of us in stitches with some outlandish acting coupled by bizzare guesses. Those who were there know what I am talking about!

The evening ended with a Secret Santa present exchange with a twist. All subsequent allottees of presents are given the option of "stealing" away a previous allottee's present if they fancied it.

On this high note, I would like on behalf of the AWL Exco, to wish all our members "Merry Christmas" and a "Happy New Year!"

May 2012 be even better!

Goh Siu Lin

Monday, December 12, 2011

Taylors' Law Awareness Week: 6th - 8th December, 2011

On 6th December, 2011, the Secretary of AWL, Ms Goh Siu Lin, delivered a speech to the students of Taylor's University on "Women's Rights" in her capacity as Secretary of AWL.

Mr. Christopher Leong (Vice-President of the Bar Council) officiated the Opening Ceremony of the Law Awareness Week and spoke on "The Right to a Fair Trial".

The other speaker was Emeritus Prof. Datuk Dr. Shad Saleem Faruqi (Senior Professor of Law & Legal Advisor, University Teknologi MARA) who spoke on "The Right to Counsel in Malaysia".

Following this, AWL had set up booth on the 7th of December and successfully recruited 12 new associate members from the Law students.

Cocktails at German Embassy - Networking with E.U embassies and NGOs on 9th December, 2011

From left to right:
Ms Foo Yet Ngo (Vice President), EU Representative, Ms Meera Samanther (President), Ms Kiran Dhaliwal (Committee member), Ms Goh Siu Lin (Secretary)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

AWL Networking event (15th December, 2011)

This is a message from Kathlyn Lee (Committee member):

"Hello all!

Yes, it's Christmas time :) (or soon enough, anyway).
In conjunction with the Christmas festive holiday spirit, the AWL networking committee will be holding it's first event!

Date: 15 December, 2011
Time: 7 pm
Place: Chef and Brew, Plaza Damansara ( you can google it for directions)

We will also be having gift exchange in line with the Christmas spirit, so bring a gift! For convenience purposes, we have capped the gift price at RM15 :)

Please RSVP to Kathlyn if you are coming by 9.12.2011.

Her details: / 012-580 1566

Taylors' Law Awareness Week (6-8 December, 2011)

Our AWL volunteers on duty for our recruitment exercise at Taylors' College, Lakeside campus today. This is the second day of their Law Awareness Week which was launched yesterday afternoon by Mr. Christopher Leong, Vice-President of the Bar Council.

Ms. Daniella with a potential recruit. She was responsible for bringing all our AWL paraphernalia and made it to the venue despite suffering a set-back in the form of a punctured tyre!

Kathlyn and myself with another two new recruits.

Appreciation also goes to Ms Sheena Gurbakhash who was on the second shift, from around noon ending at 4pm today. Missed her as I had to rush off for a meeting.

Well done and thank you all!

Goh Siu Lin

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Pregnant, so no placement as relief teacher

Extracted from:

Aidila Razak
Jun 20, 11

The Shah Alam High Court will decide on July 5 if the government committed gender-based discrimination by revoking the placement of a relief teacher upon learning that she was pregnant.

Justice Zaleha Yusof fixed the date after a hearing in chambers today, on the civil suit against the government - the first of its kind in the country.

According to Honey Tan, lawyer for plaintiff Norfadilla Ahmad Saikin(left), the suit was filed on the basis that Malaysia is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (Cedaw).

"One of our main issues is to seek a definition of 'gender discrimination' because there is no such definition adopted by Malaysian judges yet, and we are trying to use Cedaw for this purpose," she said when met.

The Cedaw expressly states that governments must “take appropriate measure…to prohibit the imposition of sanctions and dismissals on the grounds of pregnancy or of maternity leave”.

Noorfadilla, 29, also cited Article 5 (the right to liberty) of the federal constitution and Article 8(2) which pertains to discrimination on the grounds of 'religion, race, descent, gender or place of birth…in the appointment to any office or employment under a public authority'.

She is seeking a declaration that pregnancy cannot be used as an excuse to not employ a person as a untrained relief teacher (GSTT) and the revocation of the memo on her placement to be declared illegal and unconstitutional.

The memo for the month-to-month contract was revoked at a Hulu Langat District education briefing session for newly recruited GSTT, when the ministry found out she was pregnant.

According to her husband, Mohd Izwan Zakaria - who represented his wife today as she has just delivered their third child - Noorfadilla was called out during the briefing and “humiliated” for being pregnant.

“The (Hulu Langat district education officer) asked those who were pregnant to come forward. My wife and two others did. He then took away their placement memos,” he said.

Mohd Izwan said the officers had claimed that they were acting according to a 2007 circular which states that pregnant women cannot be hired as GSTT.

However, the circular sighted by Malaysiakini only states that GSTT are not entitled to maternity leave.

“One of the women who was called to the front with my wife was eight months pregnant and the job interview had been conducted within the previous month.

“Surely (the interviewer) would have seen that she was pregnant, so why was she offered a job?” he asked.

When he pursued the matter further, the Education Ministry informed him that it could not hire pregnant women because teachers need to be involved in co-curricular activities, which involve sports.

Named as respondents are Hulu Langat District education ministry officers Chayed Basirun and Ismail Musa, their department head Zahri Aziz, the director-general of the Education Ministry, the education minister and the government.

The suit is a test case assisted and led by the Malaysian Centre for Constitutionalism and Human Rights, in which co-counsel Edmund Bon is a campaigner. Also representing Noorfadilla is Shahredzan Johan.

Federal counsels Wan Roslan Wan Ismail and Aida Adha Abu Bakar are appearing for the respondents.

'Rights are not conditional'

Also present today was lawyer Andrew Khoo and human rights commissioner Detta Samen who held a watching brief for the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia, which deems the case to be "of public interest".

Khoo (right) said that, while there are no specific laws on gender discrimination, the amendment to the constitution in 2001 to include gender in Article 8, based on Cedaw, shows the intention.

"We would prefer a specific law, but the rights of Malaysians should not be ignored just because the government has not been proactive on this," he said.

Commenting on the case, Association of Women Lawyers Meera Samanther said Noorfadilla was denied her equal right to work and earn a living, which should not be conditional.

"(She) was denied her right solely because she was pregnant and this is discrimination," she said when met today.

In a joint statement, the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality called on the government and society to acknowledge maternity "as a vital social function".

"(We) call on employers to recognise that they are duty-bound to accommodate pregnant women and not dismiss employees or prospective employees on the basis of pregnancy," the group said.


Friday, December 2, 2011

Protesting the Peaceful Assembly Bill

29th November, 2011

Strong AWL presence to oppose the Peaceful Assembly Bill.