Group keen to work with govt, stakeholders to create safe society free from violence and fear

GEORGE TOWN: The Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) has urged the government to address the cause of violence against women by using nationwide campaigns, legal reforms and enhanced survivor support mechanisms as preventive measures.

In a statement to theSun, WAO urged the government to provide survivor-centric services such as counselling, legal assistance and providing shelter facilities.

“We look forward to working closely with the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry, National Domestic Violence Committee and other relevant stakeholders, including government agencies, law enforcement, civil society organisations and the broader community, to create a society in which every woman can live free from violence and fear.”


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The organisation also expressed concern over a recent shooting at the KL International Airport.

“This serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need to address violence against women in our society, and how this violence could lead to murder.”

WAO advocacy officer Dhanya Shekar pointed out the incident did not occur in isolation.

“The survivor had previously lodged two police reports against her estranged husband, highlighting the escalating nature of the threat,” she said, adding that reports must be taken seriously and addressed through a survivor-centric approach.

“However, we also wish to commend the police for their swift response in apprehending the 38-year-old suspect, Hafizul Harawi.”

Hafizul was apprehended at 3pm on April 15, a day after firing two shots at his wife, who is a travel agency owner and was waiting for her clients to return from their Mecca pilgrimage.

She was at the arrival hall entrance when Hafizul attempted to shoot her at close range but missed, and a bullet hit her bodyguard in the abdomen instead.

WAO also emphasised the need for preventive measures, enhanced victim support services and robust legal enforcement.

“Violence against women is not only a violation of individual rights but a grave violation of human rights and a barrier to gender equality and social justice.”

The organisation said Home Ministry figures showed a total of 27 murder cases involving married couples from 2019 to 2021.

According to WAO, violence against women happens due to a lack of recognition towards women’s equal rights, worth and dignity.

“Nine per cent of Malaysian women who have been in a relationship have experienced domestic violence. That is over 800,000 women across Malaysia,” said Dhanya.

Lawyer and WAO former president Sharmila Ravindran said a Gender Equality Act would ensure prohibition of gender discrimination and facilitate equality in Malaysia.

“Such an Act would stimulate economic growth, financial stability and private and public sector performance.”

WAO was established in 1982 and provides free shelter, counselling and crisis support to women and children who have experienced abuse. The organisation also advocates improvements to public policies and changes to public mindsets.

Those who need assistance can contact the WAO Hotline at 03-3000 8858 or Tina at 018-988 8058.