Two small  requests to Cabinet to make International Women’s Day tomorrow meaningful

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): Tomorrow’s Cabinet meeting coincides with the International Women’s Day and  I make two small requests to  the Cabinet Ministers meeting tomorrow  to make the day a meaningful one by  showing that in the new millennium, the government is committed to greater respect and sensitivity to gender dignity and equality.

Firstly, take cognisance of the importance that Parliament should set the example of respect and sensitivity to gender dignity and equality and to give consent to  the establishment of an all-party  Parliamentary Women Affairs Select Committee  to spearhead a nation-wide campaign against sexual harassment, including in Parliament itself.  The Parliamentary Standing Orders should be reviewed and amended to incorporate the spirit and provisions of the Code of Practice on the Prevention and Eradication of Sexual Harassment in the workplace.

Secondly, end the discrimination against Chinese national wives of Malaysians who are only allowed to meet and stay with their husband in Malaysia two weeks in a year, which will drive away Malaysian talents to migrate overseas to end the sufferings and hardships caused by such discriminatory immigration policy.

The Malaysian government must realise that the most important factor for Malaysia’s greatness, whether in making the quantum leap into a IT (Information Technology) superpower or other fields of human endeavour, is not hardware or even software but peopleware or humanware!

This is why it must adopt a "smart" immigration policy which does not drive away Malaysian humanware to migrate or remain abroad while trying to attract foreign humanware to migrate to Malaysia!

After I had made public the plight of a Malaysian IT consultant who has decided to migrate to the United States because his life had been made intolerable by the insensitive immigration policy which only allowed his Chinese national wife of two years to stay and visit him in Malaysia two weeks per year, I have today received another email from another Malaysian currently studying in the United States who may not return to Malaysia if there is no change to such an immigration policy.

This is the email I received today:

The time has come for the present immigration policy on foreign spouses of Malaysians to be modified, as it is not a "smart" immigration policy which is fully conscious that humanware is even more important than hardware and software for Malaysia’s IT future and national development.

The Cabinet tomorrow should revoke the administrative ruling that Chinese national wives of Malaysians can only visit and stay with their Malaysian husband in the country two weeks per year, but allow foreign spouses, regardless of gender, the right to work in Malaysia to contribute their talents to the country, as well as according children of such unions Malaysian citizenship.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman