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Issue 39 – Lower your gaze, creeps



Apa khabar? Bear with us as we cover two pieces of news (the Budget 2023 and fashion policing) with a sprinkle of anger and sarcasm (just to prove that it wasn’t written by ChatGPT). 

A meteor crashed in South Texas and someone on Twitter asked:

sipping tea
Source: twitter

What do you think is the answer?

Niresh Kaur, Shambavi Shankar

What’s the tea in Malaysia?

sipping tea
Source: tenor

Obviously, we have to cover this one – The Budget

Finance Minister Anwar Ibrahim announced the Budget 2023 this week with the largest allocation so far. The national budget is important because it is a detailed plan that outlines how the government intends to spend its money over a specific period, typically one year. 

The key highlights that are relevant (legal) to our newsletter:

1. The Consumer Credit Act is to be enacted this year to protect the right of users, which includes oversight on the ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ Scheme (BNPL). 

Why is there a need for this? 
Many companies that do not fall under the purview of the Bank Negara have been extending loans to customers in the form of BNPL. 
Consolidation of the regulatory framework – currently there are a few consumer credit laws in the country like the Hire-Purchase Act 1967Moneylenders Act 1951 and Pawnbrokers Act 1972 among others. 
View the consultation paper here.  

Source: tenor

2. The Insolvency Act 1967 is to be revamped to expedite the discharge of those going through bankruptcy. While awaiting the official amendment, bankrupts with debt less than RM50,000 would be released immediately provided they adhere to certain conditions.  

It is estimated that 130,000 people will benefit from this.

Source: tenor

3. The Government Procurement Act is to be tabled for transparency purposes. Currently, there are no specific regulations that govern the government procurement process (tender) which probably made it easier for them to build an expensive building, also apparently the tallest (but not the tallest in the world).
4. The Whistleblower Act 2010 is to be amended. There have been many cases in the past where whistleblowers were subject to reprisals, harassment and even arrests. This amendment, we hope, will better protect the informants. 

5. Other Institutional reforms:The compensation packages offered to top-level executives and management in government agencies and companies will be evaluated and to be adjusted to reasonable level.
The newly appointed management of government agencies such as Tabung Haji, Felda, and Felcra to explore the possibility of shutting down underperforming subsidiaries that do not align with their core functions.
Consideration to prohibit companies and statutory bodies from operating unprofitable subsidiaries that are not aligned with their primary objectives.
All government agencies such as the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN), Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), and the police are investigating cases of corruption, including those identified in the Pandora Papers leaks.
LHDN to continue investigating cases of unexplained wealth as part of their efforts to combat corruption and prevent further proliferation.  

Source: tenor

We were also hoping to see something on the IPCMC, but okay.

The government forgot about sarong allocation in Budget 2023

Are people so weak that a slit in a skirt could cause excitement (no pun intended)? Generally speaking, having a dress code does seem like a fair deal, especially in government offices as it would be quite weird to see this:

Source: tenor

Why this policing is considered to be a big problem? 
On January 31, a woman was denied entry to a police station because of her attire. Intending to lodge a police report following a car accident, she was told to leave and come back dressed ‘decently’. In case it matters, she was wearing Bermuda pants which covered her ankle at that time.
A woman was denied entry into a hospital. She had gone to the hospital to seek treatment. 
A local university did not allow their students to wear sarees or cheongsam for their convocation ceremony.
More recently, Kelvin Yi’s visitor was denied entry into the Parliament for wearing a skirt with slits.

Someone argued that this dictation is in line with our Rukun Negara. Policing a woman’s attire because it goes against the Rukun Negara’s ‘kesopanan’ principle screams the question – what constitutes ‘sopan’? So far, there are no regulations or definitions set for this word. Since undefined, what the government considers ‘sopan’ may not be ‘sopan’ for some of us. 

Women are already subject to abuses be it in the streets or in Parliament. Imagine a life where what we wear is dictated by the government. Imagine being sexualised by a slight show of skin. Imagine having to consider our outfit choice even when we are in the utmost distress. Didn’t have to imagine that did you – because this is the reality we face as a woman in Malaysia.

All these are happening even when there are no laws to govern women’s attire – In September 2022 (Iran), 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, arrested for ‘improperly’ wearing her hijab. She died three days later while in police custody allegedly due to being beaten up. 

To think that it all started with a dress code just seems surreal.
Got questions? Email us at apakhabar @ whatsrightmy(dot)com 

Subscript: We aspire to respond to our emails like we respond to our WhatsApp texts – 2 days later. 

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