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Najib: Review employment act to attract more women into workforce

KUALA LUMPUR, 21 Aug 2008: Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak says the Employment Act 1955 should be reviewed to attract more women to join the country’s workforce.

He said he would support any move to encourage more women to join the employment sector and make Malaysia more competitive, and suggested that the review could include making provisions for a more flexible working schedule.

“At the moment, the rate [of women in the workforce] is about 46%, which is still low compared to those of developed countries, which is about 70% or more,” he said after opening the Women’s Summit 2008 at the Sime Darby convention centre today.

The one-day conference is an annual event organised by the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry in conjunction with Women’s Day.

Najib said it was important to encourage more women to enter the workforce and to recognise their role in nation building.

“It is about making Malaysia competitive… bringing more women into the workforce is not a choice but a necessity. This requires a total mind shift in terms of how we approach the whole notion of getting more and more women into the workplace,” he said.

“What we need to do is to redesign and reconfigure the Employment Act through which we, as employers both in the public and private sectors, can introduce new measures in our respective organisations to encourage more women to work and to stay on as workers as part of the national workforce.

“Some women may decide to leave, but I believe they must be allowed an option to come back.”

Najib said feedback from today’s summit would be used as a reference in amending the act. – Bernama

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