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Marital rape should be recognised as rape, say activists (The Star)

My comment on marital rape not being recognised under law in Malaysia:

Women’s groups such as Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) have been lobbying for the recognition of marital rape under Malaysian laws.

“Being married to someone does not entitle you to have sex with that person whenever you want. Non-consensual sex is rape no matter what. A wife is not a husband’s property,” said Yu Ren Chung, an Advocacy Officer at WAO.

“Marital rape is a form of domestic violence, and often occurs along with other forms of abuse,” he says.

“Domestic violence laws need to be enforced more effectively. Enforcement officers and the general public need to be aware that domestic violence includes rape.”

Yu said Malaysian rape laws had a very narrow definition of what rape is.

Marital rape was not recognized as rape and was only punishable based on the potential or actual physical harm inflicted on the victim, he said.

“We work with many women who shared their stories about their abusive husbands forcing them to have sex, sometimes even using objects. Many don’t use the term “rape” as they don’t know they can say no to their husbands.”

Yu also cites how in 2006 the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) committee requested that Malaysia “enact legislation criminalizing marital rape, defining such rape on the basis of lack of consent of the wife”.

Read the full article published in The Star on 13 August 2013.

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Gender discrimination ruling stands as govt withdraws appeal (fz.com)

My comment after the government withdrew its appeal in the landmark Noorfadilla Ahmad Saikin case, which reaffirmed that CEDAW had the force of law in Malaysia:

Women’s Aid Organisation advocacy officer Yu Ren Chung said the government’s stand to not appeal the decision is a victory for all women in Malaysia who face gender discrimination in their lives.

“There can be no more excuse for an employer, be it the government or private entity, to deny a woman her right to work and to the same employment opportunities as men, on the basis of gender,” Yu said.

Read the full article re-published in Yahoo! Finance Singapore on 27 June 2013.

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Malaysia must take Cedaw seriously (The Malay Mail)

My (somewhat poorly reported) comment on the Malaysian government’s obligation to submit its CEDAW report:

“Malaysia as a member of Cedaw has an obligation to submit a report to it once every four years,” said Yu Ren Chung, advocacy officer of Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO).

Yu said Malaysia was supposed to have sent five reports but to date, they have only submitted one.

Cedaw is part of the United Nation’s agreement that is known as the International Bill for women’s rights.

Malaysia has been a member of Cedaw since 1995 and had submitted an initial report in 2006.

“The women NGOs under JAG have written an alternative report for the Cedaw in 2011 because the government report was not submitted properly,” added Yu.

Clarification: Malaysia is a state party to (not member of) CEDAW. The government’s 3rd and 4th combined CEDAW report was not submitted on time.

Read the full article published in The Malay Mail on 6 February 2013.