KOTA KINABALU: As Malaysia acceded to the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), necessary action needs to be taken to ensure women have the opportunity to work in a safe and respectful environment.
However, a revelation by Caroline Zu showed that the staff from Sabah Wildlife department were receiving the short end of the stick from a high ranking officer.
Zu, who is an ex-staff of the department, shared a lengthy letter addressed to department director Augustine Tuuga way back in July 5, 2019 upon here resignation. She made the letter public on the same day on Oct 19 after the officer posted deragatory remark of three women on Facebook page.
Her letter described working at the department due to the “tense and hostile work environment”.
She claimed that the funds were not properly allocated to necessary services, and salaries were not paid in full, while used lavishly on unnecessary and inappropriate expenses.
She also highlighted several disturbing incidents of harassment and unethical behaviour, including
name-calling. Zu also shared screenshots of inappropriate messages sent through Whatsapp.
39 CSOs including wildlife organisations demand for actions
Following the exposé , 38 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and 289 people undersigned a joint statement as they are highly concerned by the allegations of sexual and monetary misconduct happening at a government department, and demand an immediate response from the relevant authorities regarding this matter.
The statement was also signed by environmental and wildlife related organisations such as Danau Girang Field Centre, Future Alam Borneo, Friends of the Orangutans (Malaysia), Jaringan Ekologi dan Iklim, . Persatuan Aktivis Sahabat Alam – KUASA who are the department’s working partners.
“We believe that this is cause for concern as this involves public funds. We are also concerned with
the disrespectful behaviour and treatment towards women working in the department.
“In light of the above, we strongly urge the Sabah government to investigate the claims in
Wildlife Rescue Unit (WRU) and provide a proper response as this is a matter of public concern.”