• No. 46, Jalan Dato Abdul Aziz, Seksyen 14, 46100 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
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  • No. 46, Jalan 14/29, 46100 Petaling Jaya
  • +603 7954 3008

Rights and Law Reform

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Law reform remains a critical area of work for NCWO as it has been since our inception in 1964. In 2013 NCWO submitted a law reform memorandum (Appendix C) to the Prime Minister outlining our recommendations for reform in legislation covering the following areas:
Citizenship, Stateless Children, Illegitimate Children, Child Marriage, Family Law, Derivative Pension, Penal Code, Sexual Harassment and Employment Act. Following the submission to the Prime Minister, NCWO held a meeting with YB Nancy Shukri to discuss the details of our recommendations


A Collaborative Advocacy Strategy 

Reflections on our advocacy revealed that a more coherent approach is needed to accelerate the process towards law reform in all these areas. There are a number of organisations also working on law reform for women and children and we realised that it was timely to call for joint advocacy for law reform.This led to NCWO and JAG (Joint Action Group) coming together in early 2016 to begin a collaborative effort towards our common goals in this area.The first task of the NCWO-JAG Law Reform working group was to meet the Minister of Law, YB Nancy Shukri to discuss several law reform matters,particularly the issue of unilateral conversions which calls for amendments to the Law Reform (Marriage &Divorce) Act. The meeting at the Department of Law was also attended by representatives from KPWKM and the Attorney General’s Chambers. The frank and open consultation provided greater clarity on the issues and opened doors for collaboration.The joint working group for law reform connects regularly to consult on our advocacy strategy and to meet key policy makers including,parliamentarians, special cabinet task force members and ministry officials.




Law Reform (Marriage & Divorce) Act

• Meeting with Minister of Law (22 Feb ’16)
• Discussions and collaborative action with both MCA Wanita (2 Feb ’16) and MIC Wanita
• Meeting with Tan Sri Dato’ Subramaniam Sinniah who served as a member of the cabinet committee on unilateral conversion (18 Feb ’16)
• Meeting with the women’s parliamentary caucus (3 May ’16)
• NCWO issued a memorandum and article in the media on the issue of unilateral conversion. The article titled : Equality is For All was published in The Star on 6 January 2016.

Islamic Family Law

• Meeting with Minister of Law
• Current discussion on the proposal for the formation of a family court

Child Act

• NCWO reps participated in the stakeholder consultations held in 2015/2016
• NCWO/JAG also met to discuss specific issues under the child act to establish a common stand.
• Meeting with YB Chew Mei Fun (15 Oct ’15)
• Consultations with KPWKM on amendments to the Child Act

The Child Act was passed by Parliament on 7 April 2016. While there have been some advances, there are issues like Child Marriage for which the advocacy continues.

Domestic Violence Act

• Several meetings of the NCWO/JAG team as well as discussions with child rights advocates for a thorough discussion on the recommended amendments
• Further consultations with KPWKM

Sexual Harassment / Employment Act

• Domestic Worker (not Domestic Servant)
• Precarious Work
• Discrimination based on gender
• Migrant worker termination
• Short term employment contract
• Employment of Women – night work regulations

Gender Equality Legislation

NCWO/JAG are in consultation with KPWKM on the framework of a proposed Gender Equality Legislation.

Sexual Crimes Against Children

At the Hari Wanita Celebrations this year, the Prime Minister announced the formation of a task force to look into the issue of sexual crimes against children. NCWO has been appointed on the Task Force which is now in the process of developing a stand-alone legislation for Sexual Crimes Against Children.

Gender Equality Legislation

NCWO/JAG are in consultation with KPWKM on the framework of a proposed Gender Equality Legislation.


The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) is the Women’s Convention is the international women’s rights treaty that out women’s rights and obliges governments to ensure respect for these rights. CEDAW provides the framework for advocating for women’s human rights. The Malaysian government ratified CEDAW in 1995. The Convention calls for national legislation to ban discrimination, recommends temporary special measures to speed equality in fact between men and women and action to modify social and cultural patterns that perpetuate discrimination.

Governments are encouraged, by the Committee, to involve NGOs in the report preparation as governments are seldom self-critical. NGOs can submit alternative or shadow reports, which are likely to analyse the government’s application of the Convention, or identify the obstacles to women’s equality,which demand further action.

It is important for NGOs and other institutions and individuals promoting women’s rights to provide an additional perspective on the status of women in Malaysia. Independent NGO analysis may address areas that are low on the governments’ agendas and may result in greater accountability on the part of the government. Through this monitoring process, NGOs can participate in dialogues with governments to promote effective implementation of the Convention.

The first NGO Shadow Report (2005) on the initial and second periodic report of the Malaysian government was coordinated by NCWO in collaboration with WAO. The second report (2012) was an alternative report coordinated by WAO. NCWO was among the NGOs who contributed towards the report. The Malaysian government submitted its combined 3-5 periodic reports to the CEDAW committee on 30 August 2016. NCWO
and WAO will lead the coordination of the NGO Shadow Report which will be sent to the CEDAW committee in time for the scheduled session of the Malaysian Government with the CEDAW committee in 2018.