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Press Statement by Chong Eng in Bukit Mertajam on Thursday, 25th February 2010:

Support NUBEís call to increase maternity leave to 90 days

I fully support the latest campaign by the National Union of Bank Employees (NUBE) to call the Government to increase maternity leave for working women in Malaysia to 90 days from the current 60 days.

The demand for 90 days is in compliance with the standard set by the International Labour Organization (ILO). Presently, Asian countries such as our ASEAN neighbours Cambodia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam and countries such as China, Korea, India and Iran all adhere to the 90-day ILO standard. The Pakatan Rakyat State Government of Selangor has also implemented the 90-day maternity leave since 2009.

Our society has long see child-bearing and rearing to be a personal matter. On the contrary, the fact is that children today are the leaders and workforce of tomorrow. Children are invaluable investment of our country for the future. Hence, the Government, employers and society in general as stakeholders of the Nation must play their roles to contribute to this investment.

On the other hand, in order to empower our workforce to face the challenges of a globalized economy, the Malaysian Government must begin to take measures to implement international standards of social protections for our workers, especially women workforce who is exposed to a higher risk of discrimination.

The Human Resources Ministry should not waste any more time to implement this and other gender and parental working protections, including child-care services, anti sexual harassment laws, equal opportunity laws and fair wages. The Prime Ministerís vision to make Malaysia a high-income economy cannot be achieved when Malaysian workforce cannot enjoy the standard benefits enjoyed by workers in other high-income countries.

* Chong Eng, DAP Wanita Chiefperson & MP for Bukit Mertajam



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