PETALING JAYA: Government plans for a forum to discuss greater female participation in politics have been described as a waste of time.
Fuziah Salleh, head of the PKR women’s wing, said a forum, being just a discussion platform, could not promise any changes to the representation of women in legislatures.
“What we need now are affirmative action policies, like in Indonesia where political parties are required to ensure women make up at least 30% of their legislative candidates lists,” said Fuziah, who is MP for Kuantan.
She said Rina Harun, the minister for women’s development, should have come up with a better idea.
Rina had said last week that her ministry would gather women representatives from all political parties this week to discuss the country’s need for more women leaders.
The forum will be held at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia in collaboration with the National Council of Women’s Organisations.
Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah said the true test would be to put words into action after the forum. “So far we have only ever been at the talking stage of many things,” she said.
The ministry should be more proactive in not only requesting a 30% increase in funds, but also assist women in taking on leadership roles.
“Women already don’t have access to many resources, what more raise money to pay for election deposits,” she said. “Most women are working in informal sectors, so there is a need to upscale their incomes and assist in their economic recovery,” she added.