Sudden termination of LPPKN chairperson shows regression in Malaysia's women representation — Chong Eng

JUNE 19 — I hereby express my regret on the sudden termination of Datuk Dr Narimah Awin as the National Population and Family Development Board (LPPKN)’s chairman by the Perikatan Nasional (PN) Government.

The removal of Dr Narimah’s chairmanship marks a huge loss for the nation’s reproductive healthcare and women representation in leadership.

The dismissal of a well-performed woman leader with a good track record is regrettable and does not bode well for the country. Dr Narimah has vast experiences in family and reproductive health locally and internationally.

She spent 30 years in the Malaysia Ministry of Health and has been a long-time member of the Malaysian Association of Public Health Specialists since its inception, while being made a fellow of the association in 2012.

Moreover, she was also the Regional Adviser (Maternal and Reproductive Health) at the Regional Office of the World Health Organisation (WHO) for the South East Asia Region in New Delhi, India in 2013. Throughout her chairmanship, Dr. Narimah has displayed great understanding and appreciation for women’s lived realities.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has clearly stated that women representation is crucial to ensure the government has a balanced perspective which enables an inclusive approach to policy making and service delivery, especially in the sphere of public health.

Indeed, the appointment of Dr. Narimah as the Chairman of LPPKN in March 2019 was a remarkable milestone in increasing the participation of women in leadership and decision-making. However, the decision to terminate her service has reversed such meaningful advancement, and does not reflect the consideration of women representation at senior level in the civil service.

I am concerned that such action will deviate the country further away from its mark of increasing women’s participation in senior positions in the civil service to 30 per cent.

In a nutshell, I once again stress my regret at the removal of Dr Narimah from a respectable leadership position. However, I do hope that the PN government will practise gender-balance in their consideration for the intake of their civil officers at management levels.

* Press statement by Chong Eng, Penang State Executve Councillor on June 19, 2020.

** This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.

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