BANGKOK, Oct 25 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad stressed today that the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration does not condone gender bias, viewing men and women as equals.
In a lunch dialogue with the Malaysian diaspora here, the prime minister said that there are currently several female ministry secretary-generals, but acknowledged that they are subjected to fiercer competition than their male comrades.
“Government policy is to treat men and women equally, in whatever way we can. That is our policy. Not biased.
“Not gender biased and all that, but the public themselves are slowly attesting to the fact that women can take jobs like men,” he said, giving examples of female commercial and air force pilots.
“We are more liberal in the sense that women can get educated as much as the men,” he added.
Dr Mahathir was answering a question from one Malaysian attendee, who complained about her friend back in Malaysia who was allegedly discriminated from a government job due to her gender.
He admitted that bias can still happen at times, but he put the blame on job recruiters rather than the government.
“Sometimes there may be some bias, but it’s not intentional. Our policy is to treat men and women equally.
“Malaysia is acknowledged by the world as a Muslim country. Of course we don’t insist upon having that designation all the time, but the world regards Malaysia as a Muslim country. But we are not like most (other) Muslim countries where women are discriminated against,” he said.
In its election manifesto, PH had promised to ensure a minimum of 30 per cent women’s representation in the Cabinet but has failed to achieve that in its current line-up.