BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – A draft guideline to address sexual harassment in the public sector is slated for completion in July, according to a minister at the Prime Minister’s Office.

The guideline is expected to provide a framework of actions to be taken when cases of sexual harassment are reported in the civil service, as well as outline a code of conduct for government employees.

It will also recommend actions to be taken against “irresponsible conduct such as reporting false allegations”, said YB Dato Seri Setia Hj Awg Abdul Mokti Hj Mohd Daud.

“These guideline are in the process of further scrutiny, with the relevant authorities taking proactive measures to raise awareness in the civil service, and can also be extended to the general public,” the minister said during the closing of the Legislative Council on Thursday.

He added that that the guideline will complement existing regulations and laws.

A call to address sexual harassment in the workplace was raised by youth representative YB Khairunnisa Hj Ash’ari, who appealed to the Prime Minister’s Office to introduce a code of conduct for the public and private sector.

She said that despite more victims coming forward — and previous calls for workplace harassment to be addressed in a meaningful manner — no action has been taken.

According to a 2016 study conducted by the Women’s Graduate Association, 55 percent of respondents reported experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace. Eighty-four percent of respondents said current legal protections were insufficient.