55 per cent face sexual harassment at the workplace

Rokiah Mahmud

Around 55 per cent in a study indicated that they face sexual harassment at the workplace, said Yang Berhormat Haji Emran bin Haji Sabtu during the 17th Legislative Council (LegCo) session yesterday.

“Meanwhile, 75 per cent of those who encounter sexual harassment did not make a report and 84 per cent were unaware that there are laws to protect them.”

He suggested several measures to address the problem, such as installing CCTVs in the workplace; the appropriate arrangement of office space or entrance doors; continuous roadshows and briefings involving upper-rank officers; and a review of regulated acts and laws.

Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Haji Awang Abdul Mokti bin Haji Mohd Daud supported the suggestions made by Yang Berhormat Haji Emran, while adding, “Sexual harassment in the workplace is a global issue with the potential to ruin the harmony of an organisation that can cause the victim to lose focus at work, and be depressed and stressed.

“The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), through the Department of Public Service (JPA), has made the initiative to provide guidelines on sexual harassment, which is currently being reviewed by stakeholder agencies.

“These guidelines are intended as a proactive approach in raising public awareness on sexual harassment and how to avoid being a victim.

“The guidelines are also meant to provide directions for actions to be undertaken by authoritative agencies or in addressing any related reports or complaints; and measures for addressing misuse or irresponsible behaviour such as making false reports.

“The guidelines also take into account, as well as coordinate, the current acts and regulations including General Orders, Public Officers (Conduct and Discipline) Regulations 1961, Chapter B Regulation 29; Laws of Brunei Penal Code, Chapter 22 Paragraph 509; and Law of Brunei, Syariah Penal Code Order, 2013 Chapter IV Section 197.

“The Counselling Section at JPA has received some cases, but they are limited due to lack of cooperation or complaints; therefore the matter is under observation, with the current existing rules and regulations.”