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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

After pink train coaches, Malaysia launches women-only buses

Women-only transport has been stepped up a gear in Malaysia, it was reported Thursday, after the launch of female-only buses to help counter sexual harassment.

The buses follow ladies-only pink train carriages on the transport system to give the Muslim majority country's females the option of travelling separately from men.

Bus company RapidKL, a state-owned firm, started the special service for its female passengers on Wednesday on seven routes in the Malaysian capital during peak hours, the New Straits Times newspaper reported.

"This is based on feedback received from our customers, especially females, who shared with us their discomfort during peak-hour travels," the firm's chief operating officer Mohamed Hazland Mohamed Hussain said.

The official did not say whether the firm has received any sexual harassment complaints.

"I will feel safer, not because I do not trust men, but for someone my age, it's hard to fight for space during peak hours," Poovan Kaur, 63, told the paper.

In April, the Malaysian Railway launched pink women-only train coaches.

The northern Terengganu state has reportedly said it was aiming to establish a waterfall site exclusively for women to picnic and bathe, in a bid to attract Middle Eastern tourists to holiday there.

Another northern state, Kelantan has also enacted laws that require separate queues for men and women in shops. The rules are not strictly enforced.

More than 60 percent of Malaysia's 28 million population are Muslim Malays, and the population includes large ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities.

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