KOTA KINABALU: A Sabah woman leader hopes more women will be considered as election candidates if the 13 new state seats are approved by Parliament.
Upko Wanita chief Juliana Jali said the additional seats will open up an avenue for women leaders to run for office unlike the limited opportunities in previous general elections.
For example, she said Upko had several qualified women leaders but the party was unable to accommodate them because of limited seats.
“We are ready to shoulder the responsibility,” she said, adding that statistics showed there were more women voters than men.
“Upko Wanita is pleased to note that the bill for the creation of 13 new state seats in Sabah is finally seeing light at this Parliament meeting.”
The Sabah legislative assembly had passed the amendment to Article 14 (2) of the state constitution to increase its members from 60 to 73 on Aug 9, 2016.
In 2017, the Election Commission submitted the proposal for the creation of the new seats to then prime minister Najib Razak to be tabled in Parliament in time for the 14th general election.
However, it was never tabled.
The proposed new seats are Bengkoka, Mangaris, Pintasan, Pantai Dalit, Darau, Tanjung Dumpil, Dambai, Tulid, Telupid, Sungai Manila, Lamag, Segama and Kukusan.
Juliana said Upko Wanita also supported the call by Upko Youth chief Felix Joseph Saang that Sabah and Sarawak be given no less than half of the total parliamentary seats.
“Sabah is bigger than the other states in Malaya but it is lagging behind in terms of development. With more elected representatives, it will ensure that the voices of the people are heard,” she said.
She said Sabah was also entitled to more seats in parliament through the spirit of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).