Home » Islamic 

Malaysian High Court Upholds UN Convention Barring All Discrimination against Women

11/08/2011 02:13:35 AM GMT   Comments ()     Add a comment   Print     E-mail to friend

13 July 2011

In a case being described as "a giant leap for gender equality", the court has held that the United Nations' Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) has the force of law and is binding on the Malaysian government.

The landmark decision was passed by Justice Zaleha Yusof in the Shah Alam High Court yesterday in the matter of Noorfadilla Ahmad Saikin v Chayed Bin Basirun & 5 Others.

In 2009, Noorfadilla had accepted the letter of offer to be a temporary teacher in a government school. When it was discovered that she was pregnant, the officer in charge retracted the offer.

Noorfadilla then filed an application in court for damages, interest and costs, on the basis that the revocation of offer due to pregnancy is a form of gender discrimination. Besides the officer in charge, the other defendants being sued included the Federal Government, the Education Minister and Education director-general.

This is the first time in Malaysian history where a civil servant had taken legal action against the government over gender discrimination at workplace.

What constitutes "discrimination against women" and "gender discrimination" has not been decided in Malaysia prior to Noorfadilla's case. This case confirms that both direct and indirect discrimination are forbidden by law.

Justice Yusof referred to Article 1 of CEDAW to assist in defining "discrimination against women". This includes both direct and indirect discrimination.

The justice also referred to Article 11 of CEDAW which sets out the rights of women to work, and that pregnancy cannot be used as an excuse to stop women from working.

Direct discrimination is clear and has the purpose of discriminating. Indirect discrimination happens when the law, at face value, does not treat men and women differently.

Even if the law does not intend to discriminate but results in actual discrimination against women, this is also indirect discrimination. The definitions of direct and indirect discrimination will be invaluable when women file cases of discrimination and equality in court.

The court granted Noorfadilla damages to be assessed and interest.


"Pregnant woman wins landmark case : Malaysia" New Straits Times July 13, 2011

"A giant leap for gender equality" FMT July 13, 2011

"Woman wins case of gender-based discrimination" Malaysian Star July 13, 2011

Reproduced with permission from Islam Today


Loading comments ...

 Regional Sites

Regions Most Popular

- Al Arabiya


- Islam Online
- Muslims
- Muslim Heritage
- 1001 Inventions

Regional News

- The National
- Qatar Morning Post
- Al Hayat
- Daily Bahrain
- Arab News
- Daily Saudi
- Emirate Times
- Saudi Arabia Telegraph
- Saudi Arabia Herlad
- Emirates Tribune


- Sukuk
- Islamic Finance
- alJazeera Capital
- Middle East Forex
- Gulf Money
- Khaleej Forex
- Arabian Forex
- Al Arabiya Forex
- Emirates Finance Network
- Middle East Education

Middle East Vacancies

- Jobs in Saudi Arabia
- Jobs in Qatar
- Jobs in Abu Dhabi, UAE
- Jobs in Kuwait
- Jobs in Bahrain
- Jobs in Oman

Regional Marketing

- Marketing in Middle East
- UAE Marketing
- Qatar Advertising
- Kuwait Marketing
- Oman Advertising
- Bahrain Marketing
- Saudi Arabia Advertising
- Dubai Advertising