PETALING JAYA: Former minister Rafidah Aziz said her statement urging Malaysians to focus on quality instead of gender in the Pakatan Harapan (PH) Cabinet was taken out of context by the media.
Rafidah said, in fact, there should be no limit to the number of women.
“I do not subscribe to the limit prescribed by the quota.
“There are so many qualified and competent Malaysian women that it is a travesty to limit their participation to 30% or any quota for that matter,” she told FMT.
Rafidah was earlier responding to criticism that the new government had not appointed enough women to the Cabinet despite promising a 30% target in the PH election manifesto.
Social activist Marina Mahathir subsequently ticked her off at a forum broadcast live on the Sisters In Islam (SIS) Facebook page.
Marina also pointed out that Rafidah, a former international trade and industry minister, had not defined what she meant by quality.
Rafidah clarified that it was the women’s quality which should justify them being considered for a Cabinet post and not because there was a quota.
“They should not be considered based on some condescending attitude of decision-makers.
“Appoint any number of women because there are so many qualified women.
“Do not be restricted to that 30% quota,” she said.
“Even if we end up with 50% of the posts being filled by women, what’s wrong with that?
“Do we deny appointing competent women simply because there is that 30% quota?”
She said the country would lose out if participation of women was guided merely by the 30% quota.
“Quality matters and we have any number of women in various disciplines and fields suitably qualified to fill any post or position.
“That has always been my stand from day one.”