Rais Yatim, Malaysia new Foreign Minister need to get his eyesight check. He is not looking at the actual problems.

There were cases where young Malaysian women are being used to trafficking drug to overseas. He has proposed to the Cabinet to get women traveling alone to get consent from their guardian. Not only his proposal does not make sense and not practical, it also violate women's rights.

The real issues would be asking ourselves, why the drug syndicates are targeting the young women as drug carriers. Why the government is not creating any awareness programme or campaign about the menace of drugs and the consequences of carrying luggages for strangers.

And why the Polis Diraja Malaysia is not investigating how the drugs landed on Malaysian soils before it is trafficked elsewhere.

So when you look deeper at the problem, it has nothing to do with Foreign Ministry if the root of the problem are tackled from the beginning. That would be more on social and education level.

* May 06, 2008: Badawai said "Better to issue travel advisory"

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Source: thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2008/5/5/nation/21151621&sec=nation (May 05, 2008)

Travel consent plan slammed

PETALING JAYA: The proposal by the Foreign Ministry for women planning to travel overseas alone to get the consent of their family is an infringement of women’s rights, Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen said.

The Women, Family and Community Development Minister said the proposal was not the right thing to do.

“The ministry does not agree to this. I understand that Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim meant well and wanted only to protect Malaysian women in light of the sudden rise of women used as drug mules by international syndicates,” Dr Ng said.

“But I do not agree to this,” she said.

She added that issues such as identifying the syndicate, understanding why women were being lured into drug trafficking and checking their backgrounds were vitally important.

“We need to look at the core of the problem,” Dr Ng said, adding that she will be discussing the matter further with Dr Rais.

Dr Ng said she would be having a meeting with women’s groups and this issue would be a top priority.

It was reported yesterday that Dr Rais had submitted the proposal to the Cabinet following the revelation that there were 119 cases of Malaysian women imprisoned in various parts of the world for drug-related offences.

It is learnt that the vast majority of the women were aged between 21 and 27, and believed to have been conned or forced into being drug mules for syndicates.

Women’s Aid Organisation executive director Ivy Josiah said the proposal made women look weak and incompetent in making decisions.

She said the proposal would violate women’s equal rights as guaranteed by Article 8 of the Federal Constitution and the United Nation's Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women treaty ratified by Malaysia in 1995.

“At a logistical level, it will be a nightmare. Imagine Immigration authorities reviewing letters of consent at bus stations, train stations, airports and borders,” she said.

MCA Public Services and Complaints Department head Datuk Michael Chong said he understood Dr Rais’ intention but thought the proposal was inappropriate.

“There should be more studies and feedback on the matter,” he said.

Sisters In Islam programme manager Masjaliza Hamzah called it a patronising way to protect women.

“Why are women being targeted? If the Government wants to raise awareness, teach the youth and educate everybody – don’t target just women,” she said.


Source: thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2008/5/6/nation/21158307&sec=nation (May 06, 2008)

Better to issue travel advisory

KUALA LUMPUR: The proposal for women travelling out of the country alone to show a consent letter from their employer or family cannot be implemented, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said yesterday.

He said it was impossible to introduce such a regulation because thousands of Malaysian women travelled overseas annually on official duty or otherwise.

“The proposal to obtain the consent will only create great difficulty, particularly for the Immigration authorities and also the women concerned,” he said.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim had proposed on Saturday that all women travelling out of the country alone be required to show a letter from their employer or family in a move to stop Malaysian women from being duped into becoming drug couriers.

More than 100 Malaysian women have been detained in several countries on suspicion of drug trafficking.

Abdullah said the people would be reminded to be wary of drug trafficking tactics in a move to overcome the problem of syndicates using Malaysian women as drug couriers.

“I will ask Wisma Putra and the Home Ministry to issue a travel advisory asking all Malaysian citizens to be cautious when travelling out of the country,” he said.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said it was not practical to require women wanting to travel out of the country alone to get permission to leave.

He said such a move would restrict their freedom and, as adults, they had every right to travel overseas without restriction if they were eligible to get a passport.

“I think if it’s for children, it’s all right. But they are adults, above 18, and you can’t stop them if they want to go out of the country,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby here.

Asked whether the Cabinet had discussed the proposal, Syed Hamid said it had discussed the fact that many young women had fallen victim to drug syndicates and the action taken to monitor those syndicates.

Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen said the ministry would request the authorities, including Wisma Putra, to furnish details of the women who had been arrested.

“The ministry also urges parents and elders to constantly remind young adults to be extremely careful when travelling,” said Dr Ng.



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