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In brief

The Anti-Sexual Harassment Act 2022 (“Act“) was passed by the Dewan Negara on 11 August 2022. On 28 March 2023, several provisions of the Act came into effect, and it is anticipated that the rest of the Act will come into effect in stages.

This is a positive development to be lauded, considering that it is the first to many steps in having an anti-sexual harassment legislation in Malaysia, to increase the prevention and awareness of sexual harassment (in addition to the sexual harassment provisions in the Employment Act).

While the Act does not specifically address sexual harassment in the employment context, employers are encouraged to continue monitoring developments as the Act can affect the employment sphere. It is critical for employers to have robust policies and procedures in dealing with sexual harassment in the workplace.


Key takeaways

Sections 1, 2, 24, 25 and 26 of the Act have come into force. Essentially, these provisions stipulate that:

  • The Secretary General of the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development shall be the Administrator of Anti-Sexual Harassment.
  • The functions and powers of the Administrator include to formulate policy and issue guidelines, and to promote any activity and administer any matter, relating to the prevention or awareness of sexual harassment.
  • The Minister of Women, Family and Community Development is empowered to make the necessary regulations in respect of the Tribunal for Anti-Sexual Harassment.

In more detail

Please see our previous alert here for more details on the salient provisions of the Act.

The content of our previous alert (which was prepared when the Act was still at the stage of a bill and yet to be passed by the Malaysian Parliament) remains accurate, save for the provision on legal representation. Previously, the bill provided that parties to the proceedings are not allowed to be represented by an advocate and solicitor. Further readings of the bill resulted in amendments to this provision, where legal representation during the tribunal proceedings will be allowed if the matter involves complex issues of law. The Act also provides that if one party is allowed to be represented by an advocate and solicitor, the other party shall also be so entitled.

As opposed to the sexual harassment provisions under the Malaysian Employment Act 1955, which only cover workplace sexual harassment (namely, sexual harassment made (i) by an employee against another employee; (ii) by an employee against any employer; or (iii) by an employer against an employee, the Act provides the right of redress for any person who has been sexually harassed in all aspects of everyday living.

Related contentMalaysia: Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill 2021

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This client alert was issued by Wong & Partners, a member firm of Baker McKenzie International, a global law firm with member law firms around the world. In accordance with the common terminology used in professional service organizations, reference to a “partner” means a person who is a partner or equivalent in such a law firm. Similarly, reference to an “office” means an office of any such law firm. This may qualify as “Attorney Advertising” requiring notice in some jurisdictions. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Author

Kherk Ying Chew heads the Intellectual Property and Dispute Resolution Practice Groups of Wong & Partners. She has decades of experience in IP, commercial litigation, corporate compliance, information technology and Internet regulatory issues. She is ranked in Tier 1 for IP in Malaysia by Chambers Asia Pacific which has noted that Kherk Ying is "an acclaimed figure in the sector, drawing praise as a lawyer who is 'really commercial, very practical' and 'knows her subject impressively well." Asia Pacific Legal 500 inducted her into its Hall of Fame in 2021 for IP, it had commented that she is "highly respected for contentious and non-contentious work". Kherk Ying was also named in Benchmark Asia-Pacific’s Top 100 Women in Litigation for IP and Commercial Transactions (2020-2021). Kherk Ying won the Women Lawyer of the Year at the ALB Malaysia Law Awards in 2019. She is highly regarded for IP litigation, and has been named the "Best Female Lawyer in IP Litigation" by Euromoney Asia Women in Business Law Awards 2014. She is also recognised as a Tier 1 lawyer in enforcement and litigation by the World Trademark Review 1000, and ranked as a Tier 1 litigation and transactions professional by IAM Patent 1000. Kherk Ying is a registered trade mark, patent and design agent in Malaysia and the principal author of the CCH published Intellectual Property Laws of Malaysia. She is among the few selected trainers for an IP valuation course by Intellectual Property Corp of Malaysia (MyIPO) and is an accredited IP valuer by the World Trade Institute.

Author

Eddie Chuah is a partner with the Dispute Resolution Practice Group, with more than eight years of experience in all aspects of civil litigation, arbitration, industrial relations disputes and compliance. Mr. Chuah has undertaken a wide variety of briefs involving substantive law issues ranging from complex commercial transactions, insolvency litigation, shareholder disputes, construction, employment and administrative law. He also focuses on compliance issues, in particular, anti-corruption investigation, government procurement, audit and prevention.

Author

Trishelea is a partner in the Employment Practice Group of Wong & Partners. Her practice focuses on employment and industrial relations, and maritime and shipping law.

Author

Grace Chai is an Associate in Wong & Partners, Kuala Lumpur office.

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