The Dewan Rakyat today approved the budgets for three ministries at the committee level.
With this, the budget for 17 ministries has been approved at the committee stage, with six passed by en bloc voting.
The Women, Family and Community Development Ministry’s RM2.485 billion budget was approved by voice vote with Deputy Speaker Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon presiding over the session.
In her winding-up speech, minister Datuk Seri Rina Harun said the ministry was currently carrying out coordination and engagement sessions with the relevant agencies for the proposed Sexual Harassment Act.
“The draft for the bill has been prepared by the ministry after taking into account views from various quarters through the establishment of a special projects team consisting of various stakeholders.
“Meanwhile, sexual harassment issues will be handled using existing acts and regulations. For sexual harassment cases in the private sector, the Human Resources Ministry, through the Labour Department (Peninsular Malaysia) enforces the Employment Act (Act 265) by requiring employers to conduct investigations on any such complaints by their staff,” she said, giving her assurance that the ministry would push forward the tabling of the bill.
Rina, however, did not give a specific timeline for it.
For the public sector, she said the Public Services Department was currently developing a sexual harassment intervention module at workplaces to be applied by the counsellors handling such cases.
Meanwhile, the Sexual Offences Against Children Act 2017 is enforced for cases involving minors.
The act, which was formulated by the Pakatan Harapan government, was aimed at, among others, punishing those who silence reports or complaints of sexual misconduct, as well as provide protection to the victims, and enable them to seek damages for sexual harassment.
The Tourism, Culture and Arts Ministry’s RM986.6 million budget was later passed through bloc voting, with Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun presiding over the session.
The budget was supported by 109 members of parliament, while 96 voted against it and 15 were absent.
The Environment and Water Ministry’s budget (including RM551.79 million for its management expenditure) was also passed through voice votes at the committee level with Mohd Rashid presiding over the sitting. – NST