Man on mission to get more brethren into gender causes (Malaysiakini)

This interview was published in Malaysiakini

Geraldine Tong

MALAYSIANS KINI During his student days, Yu Ren Chung was interested in working on environmental issues and took up electrical engineering in university so he could focus on renewable energy and clean technology.

Yu has changed course since then and is now working for Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO), where he is the advocacy manager.

He credits prominent Malaysian women activists, especially Sisters In Islam (SIS) founder Zainah Anwar (below, right), for sparking his interest in gender equality. Continue reading

Interview in The Sun Daily

This interview was published in The Sun Daily.
24 December 2015

AMONG the many stories of women being blamed for crimes committed against them – rape, domestic abuse, snatch theft; pick your poison – and the many narratives along the theme of “Well, she asked for it,” it’s heartening to see men in the front lines of the fight for gender equality.

More often than not, one of those men is 28-year-old Yu Ren Chung (pix), Advocacy Manager for the non-profit Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO). Continue reading


Religious issues may feature in UN review (The Sun Daily)

My comment in an article about issues that may arise at the Malaysian government’s review under the Universal Periodic Review process:

Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) advocacy officer Yu Ren Chung, meanwhile, said the government has a long way to go on gender equality matters, but noted that some progress has been made in terms of human rights.

The improvements include the amendment last year to the Domestic Violence Act “which is seen quite positively”.

Yu however noted that enforcement on the ground has been poor.

Read the full article published in The Sun Daily on 8 October 2013.


Gender discrimination ruling stands as govt withdraws appeal (

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.

Get Personal: Yu Ren Chung (The Star R.AGE)

This interview was published in The Star R.AGE.


TODAY is International Women’s Day, and we are introducing a young man who is championing women.

Women’s issues concern not only women, but also men. But women are almost always the ones actively championing women’s causes.

It is thus heartening to have advocacy officer Yu Ren Chung at the forefront of the work to promote gender equality in Malaysia.

The 26-year-old engineering graduate has been actively involved in advocating for women’s rights at Women’s Aid Organisation, an NGO that has been on the ground fighting to protect women from violence and other injustices since 1982.

“The objective of our advocacy work at WAO is to influence someone or a body to do something to promote women’s rights,” said Yu. His work includes promoting gender-sensitisation training for frontline police officers to urging the government to better protect women activists through the use of United Nations human rights mechanisms.

The desire to be a part of an impetus for change is the reason Yu joined WAO when he returned to Malaysia after completing his degree in the United States.

As a student, he was involved in projects and advocacy initiatives that addressed climate change and renewable energy. Yu also worked in progressive politics and policy making.

“These experiences, and the people I met along the way, have inspired me to pursue a career to contribute in whatever small way I could towards achieving a more just society,” said Yu.

“What drew me to WAO and women’s human rights in particular was the dire need to improve gender equality in Malaysia,” he shared.

Yu has female family members and friends who have survived domestic abuse, had their car windows broken, faced discrimination at work and stalked on the streets. They have also been victims of crime.

“Though it is probably impossible for me to fully empathise with all these experiences, it’s not difficult to see that women’s rights is important to your loved ones, yourself, and society,” he said.

Yu believes Malaysia still has a lot of room for improvement in becoming a strong advocate for women’s rights.

“Compared to other countries, Malaysia ranks poorly in gender equality, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2012, which ranked Malaysia 100th out of 135 countries.

“Law reform on women’s rights (in the country) has been slow, and sometimes regressive — for example, with regards to the Islamic Family Law,” said Yu. “The government has also not prioritised fulfilling its international obligations on women’s rights.”

The dedicated activist laments that the talent pool in the Malaysian human rights field is not large enough

While there already exists a passionate and skilled NGO community, the number of people who are willing and able to do the work full-time is still quite small. He is optimistic about the changes in the country though.

“It is extremely encouraging to see in recent years Malaysians from all walks of life taking part in civic life in different capacities, from engaging in intellectual discourse and taking part in peaceful assemblies to starting social enterprises,” said Yu.