Why the proposed plan on women travel curbs is plain stupidity?

According to BBC (4 May 2008), the women’s group in Malaysia have reacted angrily to the proposed government restrictions on women travelling abroad on their own. The statement above would of course entail a resounding ‘duh’ and an uproar of laughter (and subsequent anger) in both men and women alike.

Furthermore, the Malaysian Foreign Minister (yes, he is a minister) Rais Yatim said that 90% of cases where Malaysian women had been jailed by foreign courts involved drugs. His solution or so it seems, is to require women travelling abroad to obtain written consent from their families or employers.

By doing so, the Malaysian foreign minister (I still cannot believe he is a minister) said that the move would prevent single women being used by gangs to smuggle drugs. The following is his statement to the New York Sunday Times newspaper:

“Many of these women (who travel alone) leave the country on the pretext of work or attending courses and seminars.”

“With this declaration, we will know for sure where and for what she is travelling overseas.”

Wow!! Those are some superb ministerial quality statements!! Well, for the benefit of our ‘minister’, there are a few things that will undoubtedly and inevitably upset his ‘Grande Plan’.

First, regardless of statistics, both men and women can smuggle drugs. Discriminating women by placing travel bans will not make a dent on drug smuggling business.

Second, a letter of consent will not stop anyone (men or women) from smuggling drugs. If Malaysians can forge out land titles from the land office, how hard is it to forge a letter of consent? Someone should ask Boonsom Boonyanit (https://jamesesz.wordpress.com/?s=boonsom+boonyanit) what she thinks about this….

Third and probably most important of them all is that drug smuggling no matter to which country is a highly risky business. Due to the fact that drug smuggling falls under the law of economics, it is prudent to say that women would only smuggle drugs when the marginal benefit (profits) exceeds its marginal costs (the penalties and risk).

Therefore, our Malaysian Foreign Minister (OMG) should have a discussion with both the Economic Planning Unit and the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister on why women would risk smuggling drugs rather than getting a paid, safe, and legal job at home. (I hear the phrase “cost of living” everywhere nowdays)

The last time a ‘minister’ made an equally provocative statement against women was in Japan. If my memory did not betray me, that minister was forced to resign.

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