Press statement by ADUN for Kapayan, Jannie Lasimbang on 10 March 2021:
ADUN for Kapayan, Jannie Lasimbang and PACOS Trust hopes the GRS government will protect children’s rights by implementing planned programmes that were previously adopted through inter-departmental consultations and collaborative programmes with NGOs.
During a courtesy visit to the Minister of Community Development and People’s Well-being this morning, a team from PACOS Trust briefed Minister Shahelmy bin Yahya, assistant minister YB Flovia Ng, Director of Women Affairs Department (JHEWA) Rosnah Kuyung, Director of Social Services Sabah Jais Asri, and other officers from the Ministry. Also present was the Deputy Director of the Federal Department of Social Services Sabah Hjh Dg Rugayah Ag Big.
Minister Shahelmy bin Yahya was supportive of the programmes presented, particularly the awareness-raising talks to stop marriages under 18 years old in secondary schools as these talks have previously been carried out by JHEWA and the Majlis Penasihat Wanita Sabah (MPWS).
PACOS Trust is making preparations for the talks in 20 secondary schools in 2021 – 2022 through financial support from the European Union. These awareness talks will involve students, parents and teachers to enhance their knowledge about stopping child marriages with the aim of helping every child enjoy their childhood without being pressured into marriage and be aware of their rights to adequate standards of living, health, education, and freedom from negative social norms.
Jannie Lasimbang said,
“This activity, along with legal amendments to the Native Court and Syariah Court Enactments, were among activities in the ‘10-Year Action Plan to End Marriages under 18 Years’ that was adopted by the Ministry of Law and Native Affairs in 2019.”
“The visit to the Ministry for me is important to ensure continuity of the past government’s commitments that are important to the rakyat, in this case, the protection of children’s rights”
Furthermore, the PACOS Trust team also invited the Minister to be a part of an initiative to call for a policy in Sabah that would set a quota of 30 percent women in all levels of decision-making in the public sector. To kick-start this call, a webinar will be organised on March 23 to get the support of government departments, NGOs, community leaders and the private sector to hear international and national experiences as well as local initiatives to prepare women to meet this quota.
PACOS Trust Executive Director, Anne Lasimbang stressed,
“Advocacy and leadership trainings, and engaging with both men and women in leadership positions can empower women and further increase the 30 percent quota.”
ADUN Kapayan then iterated that we can stop child marriages and provide a better future for our children and ensure 30 women in leadership positions, but to make changes at scale, international bodies, governments, and political and faith leaders need to come together and commit to putting human rights standards into action all over the world.