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Malaysia Rejects Plans of Travel Restrictions for Women

The Malaysian government rejected a proposal on Monday that would require women traveling outside of the country to have a letter from their parents or employers verifying the women’s reasons for traveling. Women’s groups denounced the proposal as an infringement of human rights. Their outcry prompted Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to announce that the proposal for the travel restrictions will not be implemented.

Ivy Josiah, executive director of Malaysia’s Women’s Aid Organisation told Al Jazeera, “The underlying assumption here is that women are weak and incompetent. It is a condescending idea and an unfair approach towards protecting women. The focus should be on creating awareness on the dangers of drug trafficking instead of singling out women and restricting their movement.”

According to The Malaysian Star, the proposal was suggested to combat drug trafficking. Reuters reports that of 119 criminal cases of Malaysian women abroad, 90 percent of those were linked to drugs.

Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar told the Associated Press, “How can we ask an adult person to report to the mother or to her parents? They have to lead their own lives.”

Sources:

Associated Press 05/05/08; BBC News 05/04/08; Al Jazeera 05/05/08; Reuters 05/05/08; The Malaysian Star 05/06/08

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