Recognise stalking as domestic violence (The Malay Mail Online)

This article was published in The Malay Mail Online.

Stalking is not a crime in Malaysia

Stalking is not a crime in Malaysia. Image from PA.

After years of abuse, Nina left her husband. Yet she was not safe. Wherever she moved, her husband would look her. One time, Nina noticed men taking pictures of her children at her house. She was being stalked. Worried, she lodged a police report, but she was not given protection. Soon after, while leaving work, Nina was attacked by two men – acquaintances of her ex-husband. They slashed her with a machete, scarring her cheek and cutting-off her thumb.

If Nina received protection after she had been stalked, her gruesome attack may have been prevented. Unfortunately for Nina, and thousands of Malaysians like her, stalking is not a crime in Malaysia. Continue reading


It’s a critical issue afflicting both genders, say NGOs (New Straits Times)

My comment in an article about men as victims of domestic violence:

WAO advocacy officer Yu Ren Chung said there was a need to improve how frontline police officers responded to DV reports.

“Every report must be taken seriously,” he said.

I must note, that when contacted by the reporter, I stressed that domestic violence is a gender based violence that primarily affects women. The article in entirety captured this somewhat, though the title did not.

Read the full article published in the New Straits Times on 18 November 2013. 



Penal Code Amendments: “Bad Bill Bad Process” (BFM 89.9)

I discussed the amendments made to the Penal Code during the 3rd meeting of the 1st Session of the 13th Parliament, with Sharaad Kuttan on the Morning Run.


Prelude from BFM:

Speaking on behalf of the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality, Ren Chung explains the position of the NGO coalition about the recently passed amendments to the Penal Code. The statement draws attention to “section 203A, under which someone can be fined up to one million ringgit for disclosing information obtained under any written law” as well as section 326A which while penalising certain types of abuse between married spouses fails to be made consistent with the Domestic Violence Act 1994.

Interview aired on BFM on 23 October 2013.


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.


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.


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.