Need to abolish discrimination in work field
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
YESTERDAY'S session of the State Legislative Council Meeting 2008 saw the state representatives presenting their adjournment speech with regards to the deliberations mentioned for the fiscal year 2008/2009.
Hj Bakar Mansor, the state representative for Brunei-Muara district, in his speech raised the issue of women's rights in the country, saying that as a nation we still need to abolish discrimination in the work field when it comes to benefits, especially in the government sector.
He said that Brunei became a member of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (Cedaw) on May 24, 2006 yet still needs to adopt a more conducive approach to the convention for women in the country.
Hj Bakar said that according to the convention, member countries must ensure that equal rights are being practised, in the form of wages, employee treatment and considerations, social security and paid leave.
Based on these rights, Hj Bakar questioned why women who are not graduates in the government service are still put in the same situation even after they get married.
He questioned why these women were only given a fixed month-to-month salary appointment and not a stable salary position and given the opportunity to claim the London passage after 15 years of service for their families.
They are also unable to claim the three passage allowances and the education allowance that is being given to their male counterparts.
Such discriminations in the government service have been around for so long that they are considered as the norm for government service, he added.
The second Minister of Finance, Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Dato Seri Setia Hj Awang Abdul Rahman Hj Ibrahim, in answer to the questions raised by Hj Bakar said that as far as the ministry is concerned the matter should very well be reviewed and revised to amend these gender differences.
However, said the minister, such amendments are under the jurisdiction of the Prime Minister's Office and only they can review or revise the conditions mentioned by Hj Bakar.
He added that it has been stated in the internal memo handed out by the Prime Minister's Office that these situations were present, and cited two memos explaining why women were not given the privilege of claiming these benefits.
Both memos stated the respective criteria for claiming these benefits and so the government is still processing these applications based on the categories mentioned.
But until any amendments are made by the relevant authorities and ministries, said the minister, the government will still be processing any applications for these benefits based on what was stated in these memos.
The Brunei Times