WAO: Withdraw Appeal in Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit

Posted on 15 April 2013

Read the article in Malay Mail


FOR the past year Malaysians have been inundated by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s declaration of Janji Ditepati, asserting that the government has fulfilled its promises to the rakyat, warranting Barisan Nasional’s (BN) reelection in the looming 13th general elections. 

Meanwhile Pakatan Rakyat (PR ) has listed many of its own promises, and asserted that if given a chance at the federal level, they will perform better than BN. The overall truth of these assertions is the topic of intense debate. That debate aside, both coalitions should make one more promise before the elections.

In January 2009 Noorfadilla Ahmad Saikin, a mother of two, went to a district education office (PPD) to receive her school placement memo.

She had earlier succeeded in an interview with the Education Ministry to work as a temporary teacher (GSTT). Along with other successful applicants, Noorfadilla received a memo and was placed in a school. Then to her surprise, a government officer proceeded to ask the applicants if anyone was pregnant. Coming forth in front of everyone, Noorfadilla had her memo and job offer retracted.

Noorfadilla took the government to task, suing for discrimination.

Remarkably, she won. But the government has sullied this landmark High Court decision by appealing, and we recently learned that the Court of Appeal has set a hearing date.

PR’s Selangor state government supported Noorfadilla in her case, and so we hope they will continue this positive action by promising to withdraw the appeal should the coalition win the elections.

BN should wise up and promise to retract the appeal.

Failure to do so would further damage its credibility to fulfill its promises on women’s issues.

In BN’s recently released general elections manifesto, the coalition promises to promote gender equality. But rejecting a woman’s job application solely because she was pregnant, and then making an appeal aagainst the High Court decision does not resonate well with such promise.

The government's action shows its failure to practice substantive equality, something any government needs to do if it is serious about promoting gender equality.

Women's Aid Organisation
Petaling Jaya

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