PUTRAJAYA, June 23 — The HerLead initiative organised by Wanita DAP serves as a platform for the party to select potential women candidates for the 16th General Election (GE16), says DAP secretary-general Anthony Loke.

Loke, who is also the Minister of Transport, said that through HerLead, Wanita DAP members of various ages received leadership training, potentially elevating them to leadership roles within the party.

“It’s not automatic that by attending this course, one becomes a candidate. No. But through this programme, we identify a pool of potential candidates who have undergone leadership exposure, which is essential for selection as election candidates.

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“This trend is prevalent across all political parties now, and DAP takes it very seriously. We seek candidates who are winnable, academically strong, experienced, have a community service record, and possess leadership qualities. This is crucial,” he told the media after attending the closing ceremony of the programme here today, which was also attended by Wanita DAP chief Teo Nie Ching.

Loke emphasised that the HerLead programme was a starting point for DAP to discover internal talents and ensure a smooth leadership transition by training more young candidates, especially women.

“Our aim is to field more female candidates in the future because, looking at the demographics, half of the country’s population and voters are women. Women’s participation in politics is relatively low, and DAP is at the forefront of ensuring more women get involved in politics, so this initiative by Wanita DAP is commendable.

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“Once these women have enough exposure, we will certainly give them the opportunity to be fielded as election candidates in the future,” he said.

The first batch of HerLead participants — 32 women from as young as 17 years old — attended a two-day course that covered leadership, party policies, public speaking, and more.

Loke said that the top participants from the programme would be offered internships with DAP leaders.

“We will offer internships to them, not necessarily within the government. Many are already working with our leaders at various levels, whether in the government or the party. They can also serve at our service centres.

“Our service centres are the training ground for our future leaders,” he added. — Bernama