Harmony Bill to address gender bias and sexual leaning

Harmony Bill to address gender bias and sexual leaning

PETALING JAYA - The proposed National Harmony and Reconciliation Bill will address issues concerning gender discrimination, including sexual orientation.

Datuk Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa, who heads the National Unity Consultative Council's (NUCC) working committee on law and policy, said the provision looks into the matter on professional grounds.

"If you are at work and someone finds out you are lesbian or gay and are fired because of that, it is wrong.

"However, it does not imply we are recognising lesbians, gays, bisexuals or transgenders.

"We cannot accept such behaviour but as far as the work environment is concerned, we feel no one should be discriminated against due to his or her sexual orientation," stressed Dr Mujahid when contacted.

He said the matter was still open for discussions as it was deemed sensitive.

Mujahid said public feedback was vital as the committee was transparent, adding that the draft of the Bill was available for viewing on NUCC's website.

Article 7 of the proposed Bill reads: "The Government and all persons shall not unfairly discriminate against any person on the ground of gender, including discrimination on ground of pregnancy; sexual orientation and identity; the denial of access to opportunities, including access to services or contractual opportunities for rendering services for consideration, or failing to take steps to reasonably accommodate the needs of such persons; and systemic inequality of access to opportunities by a gender as a result of the sexual division of labour."

Apart from gender, the Bill also addresses unfair discrimination of persons based on religion, race, descent, place of birth and disability.

The committee also worked on two other preliminary drafts, which are set to replace the Sedition Act 1984.

The other two Bills are the Racial and Religious Hate Crimes Bill and National Harmony and Reconciliation Commission Bill.

The National Harmony and Reconciliation Commission Bill details the functions of the commission that will look into grouses of those who feel discriminated.

The Racial and Religious Hate Crimes Bill promotes and preserves national harmony by punishing racial and religious hatred, as well as protecting the right to freedom of speech and expression.

All three preliminary drafts have been sent to Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nancy Shukri and the Attorney-General's Chambers to be scrutinised.

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