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KLANG, March 8 — The Council of Malaysian Women Political Leaders (Comwel) will propose to the Election Commission (EC) to designate 30 per cent of Parliament and state assembly seats for women in the next general election.
Minister of Housing and Local Government Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin, who is also Comwel founder and president, said the council would also advocate for the 30 per cent representation for women in local governments and any other leadership and decision-making positions.
“Comwel will send the proposal to EC chairman Datuk Abdul Ghani Salleh as soon as possible,” she told a press conference held in conjunction with the launching of Comwel today.
According to Zuraida, only 84 women had been elected as representatives in the Malaysian Parliament since Merdeka.
“Post-14th general election (GE-14), we only have 33 women representatives, representing 14.86 per cent of the total number of Members of Parliament (MPs) in the country.
“The lack of representation of women in Parliament is also shared by our friends from neighbouring countries such as Indonesia, which has 20.3 per cent women (representation) in Parliament, only five per cent for the Thai parliament, 28 per cent for the Philippines, 20 per cent for Cambodia and 11.3 per cent for Myanmar,” said Zuraida.
Meanwhile, Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun, who was present to officiate Comwel, said the number of women elected representatives in Malaysia could be improved despite the legal constraints faced to effect this.
He said there are other ways to improve women representation, such as providing financial incentives for political parties to field more women in elections.
“So, this will not require legal or legislative action; it can be done immediately to achieve the target of 30 per cent. It just requires political will from all parties,” he added.
Comwel has been established to bring together Malaysian women leaders in fighting for women empowerment and gender mainstreaming in a systematic and holistic manner.
It comprises women leaders from various political, religious and racial backgrounds. — Bernama