NGOs, others slam Shahidan’s appointment to women’s and children’s affairs committee

At a time when women’s and children’s rights have been significantly set back by the pandemic, it is even more important that we appoint credible MPs

Photograph: Patrizia Kramer/Flickr

We, the undersigned, strongly object to the appointment of Arau MP Shahidan Kassim to the parliamentary Special Select Committee for Women and Children Affairs and Social Development.

We note that Shahidan has since requested to be replaced.

In 2018, Shahidan was charged with molesting a 15-year-old girl, under the Sexual Offences Against Children Act 2017. The charges were dropped in 2019 after the complaint was withdrawn – but Shahidan was not acquitted.

This casts serious doubt on Shahidan’s credibility to serve on to this committee, which has the responsibility of scrutinising laws on gender-based violence and child abuse.

Moreover, the Arau MP had previously objected to the formation of the parliamentary Select Committee on Women and Children.

At a time when women’s and children’s rights have been significantly set back by the pandemic, it is even more important that we appoint credible MPs, with relevant expertise and commitment to child rights and gender equality to the committee.

We call on:

  • Barisan Nasional and Perikatan Nasional to immediately rescind Shahidan’s appointment and apologise for this oversight. We call on BN chairperson Zahid Hamidi and PN chairperson Muhyiddin Yassin to address this
  • Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, Women, Family and Community Development Minister Rina Harun, and Select Committee for Women and Children Affairs and Social Development chair Azalina Othman to object to Shahidan’s appointment
  • Dewan Rakyat Speaker Azhar Harun to reflect on the lapses of the appointment process and enact reforms to safeguard the integrity of the parliamentary select committees

Malaysia has ratified the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (Cedaw) and the Child Rights Convention). We have government agencies and frontline staff dedicated to combat child abuse – including the Welfare Department, the police and the one-stop crisis centres in public hospitals.

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The appointment of Shahidan to this select committee goes against these commitments and principles.

Endorsed by:

Women’s and gender equality groups

  •  Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO)
  • All Women’s Action Society (Awam)
  • Association of Women Lawyers (AWL)
  • Empower Malaysia
  • Family Frontiers
  • Inner Wheel Club of KL
  • Kryss Network
  • Malaysian Organisation for Development of Indian Women in Career, Entrepreneur and Professionals (MiWEPs)
  • Perak Women for Women Society (PWW)
  • Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor
  • Pertubuhan Teratak Rahmah Wanita Islam (Teratai)
  • Sabah Women’s Action-Resource Group (Sawo)
  • Seramas
  • Serata
  • Sisters in Islam
  • Tenaganita
  • The 111 Initiative
  • The KL and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall Women Division
  • Women’s Centre for Change (WCC)

Children’s groups

  • Anak
  • Asia Community Service
  • Bold Association for Children with Special Needs Penang
  • Childline Foundation
  • End CSEC Malaysia
  • Global Shepherds
  • Majlis Kebajikan Kanak-kanak Malaysia (MKKM)
  • Methodist Care Centre (Sibu)
  • National Early Childhood Intervention Council (NECIC)
  • New Horizons Society Early Intervention Centre
  • Persatuan Kanak-Kanak Istimewa Kajang
  • Persatuan Child Sabah
  • Persatuan Pengasuh Berdaftar Malaysia
  • Pertubuhan Pendidikan Anak Cahaya Sabah (Cahaya Society)
  • Pertubuhan Perkhidmatan Intervensi Awal
  • PS the Children
  • Spices Early Intervention Centre
  • Spot Community Project
  • Toy Libraries Malaysia
  • Vanguards4Change
  • Voice of the Children
  • Yayasan Chow Kit

Health groups

  • Federation of Reproductive Health Associations, Malaysia (FRHAM)
  • Health Equity Initiatives
  • Malaysian Medical Association Public Health Society
  • Persatuan WeCareJourney
  • Reproductive Health Association of Kelantan (ReHAK)
  • Reproductive Rights Advocacy Alliance Malaysia (RRAAM)

Other groups

  • Agora Society Malaysia
  • Aliran
  • Amnesty International Malaysia
  • Bersih 2.0
  • Beyond Borders Malaysia
  • Buku Jalanan Chow Kit
  • CBR Network Malaysia
  • Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ)
  • GoJob MY
  • Malaysian Association of Social Workers (MASW)
  • Make it Right Movement (MIRM)
  • Opis International
  • Our Journey
  • Pergerakan Tenaga Akademik Malaysia (Gerak)
  • Persatuan Kebajikan Biji Sawi (Mustard Seed Soup Kitchen)
  • Persatuan Promosi Hak Asasi Manusia (Proham)
  • Pusat Komas
  • Sabah Human Rights Centre
  • Sabah Reform Initiative (Sari)
  • Sahabat Alam Malaysia
  • Sustainable Development Network Malaysia
  • Third World Network
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Individuals

  • Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
  • Azira Aziz
  • Azimy Wan Ahmad
  • Dr Chin Saw Sian
  • Goh Siu Lin
  • Hasan Al-Akraa
  • Ivy N Josiah
  • Jac sm Kee
  • Jennifer Liew
  • Dr Lai Suat Yan
  • Dr Maria Rufina
  • Dr Nawar Mani
  • Priscilla Shim
  • Prudence Lingham
  • Raymund Jagan
  • Dr Ruhana Padzil
  • Dr Rusaslina Idrus
  • Dr Shanthi Thambiah
  • Dr Siti Noraida Habibullah
  • Sivasangaran Kumaran
  • Wan Nordiyawati Wan Omar
  • Zarina Ismail Tom
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loyal malaysian
loyal malaysian
15 Jan 2021 6.48am

This appointment is but another example of Muhyiddin’s “cakap tak sama bikin”

Given his colorful history to appoint Shahidan Kassim to the parliamentary Special Select Committee for Women and Children Affairs and Social Development is absurd!

I am happy to note the article indicated that Shahidan does have some decency, he has asked to be replaced!!
Come on, is PN so devoid of leaders?