KUALA LUMPUR, May 29 — Minister Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin has today lobbied for more "maternal traits" to be instilled in Malaysia's politics, pointing to the domination of men in the scene.
Following criticisms of her project honouring mothers recently, the new recruit for Parti Bangsa Malaysia said such traits can prevent voters from feeling disconnected from their leaders in a world wracked by divisive issues and extremism.
"We need to recognise that in today’s world which is driven by division and polarity, a political leadership imbued with maternal instincts can make a significant difference in the lives of the people.
"The rise of extremism we now see in the West — and which has encroached into this part of the world, including in Malaysia — is chiefly due to the sense of alienation the people feel from the political processes,” she said in an opinion piece,
Zuraida added that when voters start to feel neglected, they are inclined to succumb to politicians who manipulate the masses’ anger, prejudices and sense of disillusionment at the expense of the society’s long-term interests.
"From Washington DC to Paris to Kuala Kubu Baru, the public is feeling more and more detached from the political process and their so-called 'leaders'.
"Many do not get the kind of empathy from political leaders, the way a toddler typically gets his or her mother’s full attention after bruising a knee from a fall,” she added.
She said both men and women approach politics differently, citing studies that said testosterone-driven leadership tends to be more aggressive and exclusionary.
The Ampang MP compared it to female leaders who she said are known to be more emphatic and consultative, with many of them displaying leadership attributes and effectiveness that surpass men.
Commenting on men dominating politics, she said that women need to step up to the plate and start to revolutionise leadership with motherly traits.
"Mothering is what will ultimately transform us from being weak to being a rock. Mothering our community, our environment, and our world is what will make our planet a better place for all of us,” she said.
Two weeks ago, Zuraida launched a new website called "Mothering” in honour of all mothers.
Launched just a week after Mother’s Day, Zuraida said a mother’s role was like none others and that the founding of her website was in recognition of all mothers and their sacrifices.
Accordingly, Zuraida said the website would serve as a medium to educate mothers on their rights, assist single mothers and ensure greater women empowerment.
Zuraida's statement today came amid her announcement that she is leaving Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia to join Parti Bangsa Malaysia.
She said she would tender her resignation as the minister of plantation industries and commodities to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob soon.