Sisters In Islam: JAG Statement: One-Third Women’s Representation Needed in Cabinet and State EXCO (11 May 2018)
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JAG Statement: One-Third Women’s Representation Needed in Cabinet and State EXCO (11 May 2018)
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The Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) congratulates the Prime Minister, Tun Mahathir Mohamad, on his successful appointment as the 7th Prime Minister of Malaysia, and to Pakatan Harapan on being the new Federal Government of Malaysia. It is indeed a new era with the promise of much needed institutional and structural reforms.

We would like to remind Pakatan Harapan of its promise to promote gender equality, and this needs to start with ensuring women’s representation in key policy and law-making institutions in the three branches of government—the Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary. We therefore respectfully encourage the Prime Minister and respective party leaders of Parti Keadilan Rakyat, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, Democratic Action Party and Parti Amanah Negara to appoint women Members of Parliament to make up at least one-third of the Cabinet and similarly for the State Exco.

Malaysia, in its history, has never had more than three women Ministers under any one administration. While we appreciate that Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail is designated Deputy Prime Minister, we cannot undervalue the necessity of having a higher representation of women in policy and law-making. Pakatan Harapan has shown to the people that it is different, in naming Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as Deputy Prime Minister. It should follow through by naming from among the 21 Pakatan Harapan women MPs (including Warisan) other similarly capable women to key positions in the Federal Government and in the State Exco. The excuses that these women are not ready, too young or are new to governance are no longer valid. As many as eight women Members of Parliament are newcomers, thanks to Pakatan Harapan fielding them as candidates. However, there are as many if not more male Members of Parliament who are new to governance as well.

Many women came out to vote for change, and in fact, had outnumbered male voters in almost all constituencies. This is a testimony that women voters desire change that will address women’s rights issues and concerns.

Malaysia may hold a record number of 32 women Members of Parliament today, but this is far from the minimum target of 30% women’s representation or the one-third representation we are asking for now. We need to do more and Pakatan Harapan is in a very good position to do what is right by Malaysian women, and uphold its many promises for women’s empowerment and gender equality.


Endorsed by:
Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER)
Sisters in Islam (SIS)
Association of Women Lawyers (AWL)
All Women’s Action Society (AWAM)
Perak Women for Women (PWW)
Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO)
Women’s Centre for Change (WCC)
Sabah Women’s Action-Resource Group (SAWO)
Persatuan Sahabat Wanita, Selangor (PSWS)

11 May 2018

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