Report on “Seminar Motivasi, Perundangan dan Hak-hak Asasi Wanita”

Malacca, December 7th, 2008 :- Straits Meridian Hotel was a hive of activity on Sunday as The Ministry of Women’s Development, Family and Community in conjunction with Persatuan Ibubapa Muhibah Negeri Melaka (PIBM) co-organized a seminar on women’s rights. The seminar was held from 8.00am till 4.30pm.


PIBM is a non-governmental organization which aims to help the less-privileged in society; in particular single and divorced women by providing an avenue to voice out their grouses as well as imparting advice and providing them with relevant resources. About forty women from all walks of life participated in this seminar.


In his opening speech, Adrian Loy, Chairman of the function expressed his gratitude to the delegates for participating. He hoped that the outcome of this seminar would empower women in advocating for their rights and that society would be more aware of the perils faced by single and divorced women. Anna Lofsteadt, President of Women of Malacca Action Club (WOMAC) spoke next on “Sex and Gender.” Her highly-powered speech focused on the exploitation of women, sexual harassment, rape and psychic assault. Women should not tolerate these abuses. Instead women need to overcome their fear of non-acceptance and isolation in order to defend themselves.


Next on the floor was Fatima Tahir Ali, an advocate and solicitor and also volunteer from the Legal Aid Centre whose interesting speech was as powerful as it was motivating for women. She said that violence against women should not be tolerated at any time whatsoever to the applause of the participants. When faced with domestic problems, women must be clear of their rights. She spoke on divorce procedures, custody rights, the rights of a child, the rights to matrimonial assets and child visitation rights. Her session was followed by a question and answer session.    


 The seminar resumed after lunch in which Nizam Bashir, Malacca Bar Sub-Committee Chairman for the Legal Aid Committee spoke on violence against women and the many ways in which battered and emotionally assaulted women can get help from various organizations in Malacca itself. There was a final question and answer session next in which Anna Lofsteadt promulgated “Wanita Boleh” much to enthusiasm and cheers of the participants, men and women alike.


Despite the rain, the seminar ended with a note of promise:- Women have rights; whether personal or legal and all women should translate this awareness into advocacy and action if need be to protect themselves and their children.    


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