PETALING JAYA: The deputy prime minister’s post is not a prize in a pageant, says cabinet minister Nancy Shukri in an article in which she dismissed the promises of opposition politicians to appoint a female deputy prime minister if they took power.
She said such promises demonstrated a failure and inability to understand that empowerment of women was a process, not a product.
“It is not merely a prize in a pageant,” she wrote in an opinion piece published in CEO Magazine, “it requires a holistic approach to tackle the unique and multi-faceted issues” surrounding women.
She noted that Malaysia had moved from a male-dominated system to one that was more diverse, and the federal government had kept pushing for more women as elected representatives by setting a 30% minimum allocation for the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara.
“We are also pursuing a 30% female representation on the boards of government-linked companies and government-linked investment companies,” she said.
The government also had policies towards giving women in the public services a proper work-life balance, such as helping them raise their families, by increasing maternity leave from 60 to 90 days.
Nancy, a minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, said the Women’s Economic Council, chaired by the prime minister, would ensure that the women’s economic agenda was given proper attention. Women would play a pivotal role in driving the national economy towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution, she said.
She also pointed out that Barisan Nasional’s election manifesto included 14 key points for women.
The prospect of Malaysia having its first female deputy prime minister was raised after Pakatan Harapan named its chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad and president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as prospective prime minister and deputy prime minister respectively.