Monday, March 19, 2012

"Wanita Suara Perubahan" Rally - 18.3.2012

To celebrate International Women's Day, a coalition of 15 women NGO groups led a civil society initiative called "Wanita Suara Perubahan" (Women the Voice of Change). AWL was one of the key organisers of this event.

The rally was to raise awareness on women's concerns amongst members of the public, calling specifically upon women voters to participate in the 13th General Elections for a clean government and for Members of Parliament to take heed of our 6 core demands which are:-

1. A government free of corruption.

2. A decent living wage.

3. A better quality of life.

4. An end to violence against women and all genders.

5. Repeal the Peaceful Assembly Act 2011.

6. Free and fair elections.

Thousands of women from all corners of Malaysia came together to show their support for change for a better Malaysia.

The AWL team out in full force. Decked in purple and donning white gloves.

From left to right: Meera Samanther, Sharon Tee, Tham Hui Ying, Kiran Dhaliwal, Vicky Alahakone, Goh Siu Lin.

The indigeneous women's group.

Peaceful and orderly march.

The drummers lent a festive feel, accompanying our chants of "Hidup! Hidup! Hidup Wanita!" "Bangkit! Bangkit! Bangkit Wanita!" "Tolak! Tolak! Tolak Rasuah!"

Women of all ages, social groups (including the "peladang wanita"), sexual preferences and race came from all corners of Malaysia - Tawau, Trengganu, Kelantan, Melaka, Selangor, Penang even Singapore!

Meera Samanther and the iconic Irene Fernandez.

The leader of the Indigenous women's group who gave a very moving and powerful speech on the special difficulties that their community faced.

The media.

Enjoying the AWL camaraderie.

The 6 core demands.

Teaching us the vigourous Jaiho bollywood moves. Meera can be seen on the left side of the stage.

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AWL members end the day with a group photo with Irene Fernandez and Dato Ambiga Sreenivasan.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

"Tackle Sexual Harrassment"

Extracted from the Star: Friday February 24, 2012


PETALING JAYA: Sexual harassment in the workplace is still a very real nightmare for the victims as there is inadequate legislation to protect them, said activist Meera Samanther.
Meera, who is Association of Women Lawyers' president, said the current provisions for sexual harassment under the Employment Act was not comprehensive enough to provide proper help to victims.

“We need to pass the Sexual Harassment Bill so that it will be compulsory for employers to formulate proper sexual harassment policies, establish a committee for it and provide quick redress to victims,” she said here yesterday, adding that strong backing from employers would empower women to speak out without fear.

Meera, who will discuss the issue with Capital FM deejay Asha Gill next Wednesday, pointed out that women groups had been lobbying for the Bill to be passed since it was drafted in 2001.
She emphasised the need for such a Bill, which would recognise the right of “every human being to a working environment free of harassment”.

“Sexual harassment is a violation of human dignity and our fundamental liberty to equal opportunities at work,” she stressed, pointing out that men had also become victims.
She urged the public to tune in to the programme as sexual harassment affected both the victims and employers.

“We want to reach out to listeners many of whom may be silent sufferers, who need to know what to do and where to go for help.

“We want the perpetrators to understand how their actions affect victims and employers to understand how work productivity is affected,” she said.

Meera also lauded Capital FM 88.9, Malaysia's first radio station catering to women, for bringing up the idea of speaking about sexual harassment.

Asha, a passionate advocate of women's rights, said it was vital for women to know their rights and stand up for themselves.

“Women should be able to feel confident and reprimand their harasser by saying I feel that is not appropriate', and take the necessary steps to stop it,” she said.

Meera will be speaking along with All Women's Action Society (Awam) programme manager Betty Yeoh<> on Asha's Eat, Pray, Love show from 11am to noon next Wednesday.

Wanita Suara Perubahan


1. Who are we?

A coalition of 15 NGO's pushing for a clean government and women's rights

2. What we're pushing for?

We have 6 different demands touching on clean and fair elections which have an impact on women's rights. We'll be talking about each demand throughout the next week. Here's the first:

*A government free of corruption*.
Accountability and transparency is institutionalized in all key institutions (MACC, Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission).

They must come under the Parliament and not the Prime Minister's Office.

A Right to Information Act must be enacted.

Make all governments income and expenditure transparent.

All ministers and senior officials at the federal state must declare their assets.

*A clean government is an accountable government*
Adhering to the basic principles of good governance.

This call for a clean government comes at a time when our national budget goes into increased deficit and when it has been projected that in less than 10 years the country will become bankrupt.

The corruption and stacking away of people’s money by people in power is seen as a “right”.

Women will, therefore, suffer most as they need to ensure food is on the table; that children’s health is taken care of and that there is money to send their children for a proper education.

*A Better Quality of Life*
Millions of ringgit have been lost that should have been spent on adequate housing, health, transportation, education, establishing decent living wages, and ensuring environmental protection.

Instead, basic services are being privatised (e.g. health) and subsidies are being cut. Worker's right are being eroded, labour is being casualised and the rakyat are being told to cope and live within their means.

Many families, including single parents, struggle to pay the rent, feed their children or access decent healthcare. Many women work long hours or hold two jobs to make ends meet.

Do you worry for the future of your loved ones? If you do, come and join us on Sunday, 18th March 2012 as we march for a better tomorrow .

For more info you can find Wanita Suara Perubahan on:


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