KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 24 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak urged Malaysians to continue championing the rights of women and take the necessary steps to eliminate all forms of violence against women.
“I make this plea, not only as a politician, but as a husband and a father as well. Violence against women takes many forms, but none are acceptable. Today, let us all take a step back and do what is necessary to ensure the women we love are protected,” said Najib (picture) in the latest entry on his 1 Malaysia blog yesterday.
It is titled “Eliminating Violence Against Women”, in conjunction with the United Nation’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women tomorrow.
He said Malaysia has a strong track record when it came to women’s rights and he was proud of the progress made so far in ensuring equality in the workforce and government.
“Across the country, Malaysians are working to make our society safer — and more equal,” he said.
But despite this progress, cases of domestic violence, sexual harassment, incest and rape still make the headlines, he said.
Between 2008 and May 2012, the Women’s Development Department recorded 8,653 cases requiring guidance and counselling due to being victims of violence, he added.
“I don’t believe these issues can or should be left to victims or their families to deal with alone. The safety of all citizens is a moral duty of national importance and cannot be ignored.
“As both prime minister and women, family and community development minister, I promise to do whatever I can to curtail the unacceptable levels of violence against women,” he emphasised.
The government has organised the Women’s Safety Campaign 2012 to increase women’s awareness and knowledge of the risks, he added.
He said although it was only half-way through, it has already surpassed its target for participants, which was a fantastic achievement.
“The government also actively provides emotional support and shelter to victims of sexual crimes and domestic violence. This year alone, the Women’s Development Department has organised 16 guidance and counselling programmes nationwide, involving 901 participants,” he elaborated.
Najib said the government will continue to empower women in the workplace so they could be more independent and less likely to fall victim to any form of abuse.
At present, the government was collaborating with NGOs and the private sector to ensure women’s concerns were included in government policies, he said.
“In Budget 2013, incentives such as grants, tax reductions and allowances are being allocated to private early education centres, giving women more freedom to explore the workplace and expand their career horizons,” said Najib. — Bernama