The Dewan Rakyat rejected the motion to debate sexual harassment issues yesterday, 15 August, despite a recent exposé of sexual abuse against housemen at the Sungai Buloh Hospital
Free Malaysia Today reported that the rejected motion was filed by Bukit Gelugor Member of Parliament (MP) Ramkarpal Singh, in connection with the recent exposé by The Star regarding sexual harassment against housemen at the Sungai Buloh Hospital.
"It is regretted that the Parliament speaker (Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof) has rejected my motion, saying that the issue has been addressed by the Health Ministry when it set up an independent inquiry body," Ramkarpal was quoted as saying by Free Malaysia Today.
Ramkarpal was referring to a direct channel set up by the Health Ministry recently to allow sexual harassment victims to come forward and lodge complaints
Ramkarpal claimed that 38 reports against an orthopaedic head of department at the hospital have been received by the Health Ministry thus far.
Sin Chew Daily reported him as saying that the Dewan Rakyat should have been allowed to debate on long-term solutions to sexual harassment despite the Health Ministry's inquiry on the issue.
"The fact that there are 38 cases tells us how serious this problem is and that it needs more than just an inquiry to prevent the problem from recurring, either in this hospital or elsewhere," the Bukit Gelugor MP was quoted as saying by Free Malaysia Today.
The government has been urged to speed up the drafting and passing of the Sexual Harassment Bill following the case at the Sungai Buloh Hospital
Batu Kawan MP P. Kasthuriraani said sexual offenders could be punished accordingly if the bill was passed.
"Right now, it is as if these offenders are getting a free pass to do whatever they want, knowing no laws can be enforced against them," she was quoted as saying by Free Malaysia Today yesterday.
Meanwhile, Deputy Women, Family, and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh also recently stressed on the need for proper legislation to curb sexual harassment at the workplace.
"The Sexual Harassment (Bill) has been talked about for some time but now with the case involving the Health Ministry, we feel there is a sense of urgency to quickly legislate (the prevention of) sexual harassment," Hannah was quoted as saying by The Star earlier this month.
The case at the Sungai Buloh Hospital is just the latest addition to a string of sexual crimes in Malaysia lately: