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Sunday, August 30, 2020

DAP MPs: ‘Ball in PN's court’ to guard welfare of women, children


DAP MPs Alice Lau and Kasthuriraani Patto are calling on Perikatan Nasional (PN) lawmakers to support the setting up of a parliamentary Special Select Committee (SSC) on women and children, which they say was proposed by Dewan Rakyat speaker Azhar Azizan Harun.
"We call for their undivided support in setting this committee up with no delay," said Lau and Kasthuriraani in a statement. They are the MPs for Lanang and Batu Kawan respectively.
"Why is it so important for this committee to be set up now, and not to be shelved for months to come, is to ensure the welfare and rights of women and children are addressed, upheld and defended," said the duo.
They are pushing for the committee to be a healthy check-and-balance on government policies and expenditure, especially in this time of uncertainty in facing the Covid-19 pandemic.
They added that all functioning Parliaments around the world have committees to look into matters of gender, women, children, and social development.
"Malaysia cannot follow the path of those that don't have (such committees)," said the duo.
They pointed out that the previous Pakatan Harapan government had also formed an SSC on gender equality and family development during its tenure.
The two opposition parliamentarians said the speaker had proposed for an SSC on women, children, and social development in a letter dated Aug 28 addressed to the House Committee which is chaired by the speaker himself.
The duo said Azhar's letter was in response to a letter previously sent by Lau on Aug 27 in which she requested for the speaker to speed up the formation of an SSC on women, children, and gender equality.
In her Aug 27 letter, Lau said the delay in setting up the SSC was “regressive” and showed neglect of women, children, and families.
Meanwhile, in a copy of Azhar’s purported Aug 28 letter, which was sent to the media, he allegedly pointed out that forming such a select committee was “close to the hearts of many women MPs”.
As such, he urged the rest of the House Committee’s support to consider the proposal.
Malaysiakini is attempting to verify the letter with the speaker.
Aside from Lau and Kasthuriraani, the House Committee members include Shahidan Kassim (BN-Arau), Mas Ermieyati Samsudin (Bersatu-Masjid Tanah), Abdul Latiff Abdul Rahman (PAS-Kuala Krai), Tiong King Sing (PDP-Bintulu), and Mohd Hatta Md Ramli (Amanah-Lumut).
"Now the ball is in the court of MPs from Perikatan Nasional, namely Bintulu, Arau, Masjid Tanah, and Kuala Krai to put the agenda of women and children as a (national) agenda and not to object to the setting up of this committee," said the duo.
Previously, there were 11 parliamentary select committees focusing on science and innovation, trade and international relations, human rights, gender equality, public appointments, and government expenditure, among others.
However, only eight parliamentary select committees were announced on Aug 27, the last day of the most recent Parliament session, of which gender equality was excluded.
Yesterday, PKR MPs Nurul Izzah Anwar (Permatang Pauh) and Nor Azrina Surip (Merbok) similarly called on Azhar to revive the SSC on gender equality and family development, which was previously chaired by Azrina. - Mkini

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