By Jaythaleela K
MIRI, Oct 21: Sarawak Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) chairman Baru Bian believes that women could be a decisive force in this coming state election.
“This is the golden opportunity for us to change the political landscape of our beloved Sarawak,” he opined.
He urged PKR Women’s wings to make a concerted effort to harness their power and exert their influence to help the party realise their dream of making Sarawak and Malaysia a better place to live.
Baru’s speech text was read out by PKR Baram chief Roland Engan during the Baram Wanita PKR fundraising dinner gathering on Sunday night at a hotel here.
Baru added, the evidence is clear that past leaders of Sarawak, the majority of whom have been male, have not performed well in governing.
“Our peoples are still among the poorest in Malaysia although our state is rich in natural resources. This is the result of mismanagement and abuse of our resources as well as corruption on a huge, rampant and uncontrolled scale,” he pointed out.
Baru added, for the first time in the history of PKR, they will be entering the state election as the government of the day.
“The PRN is around the corner; therefore I encourage the ‘Sayap Wanita’ to continue to focus on strengthening its wing and work with the main ‘Cabang’.”
He opined, branches with strong women’s wings are without doubt more effective and successful than those with less women’s participation.
Meanwhile, on women’s roles as registered voters in Malaysia, he emphasised they have the power to change lives.
“In Malaysia, females make up 48 per cent of the population but you make up 51 per cent of registered voters,” he noted.
In Sarawak, he added, it is the same — there are more women voters than men.
“This shows that women are more politically aware than men and perhaps are more conscious of their duty as loyal citizens to have a say in how they want our country governed.
“Women are now increasingly participating in professional and political spheres. The gender gap is narrowing. In Malaysia, last year, women made up 62 per cent of the total enrolment at tertiary education institutions.
“For the first time in our history, we have a female Deputy Prime Minister,” Baru noted.
However, in the last election, only 75 of the 687 candidates for federal seats were women, while only 9 out of 50 cabinet members are women, he added.
“Clearly, although women have greater awareness of their rights, the number of women directly participating in the leadership field is still low,” he stressed.
“However, the advancement of women in politics and leadership is unstoppable, I encourage more women to step forward to take part in our democratic electoral process.”
On the ground, women cast great influence in the way a household votes as they are the glue that holds the family together. Women are able to make connections with voters and share the message of change with voters, he added.
Also present were Saratok MP Ali Biju, Pujut assemblyman Dr Ting Tiong Choon, PKR Women acting chief Lorna Lirang Ajang and PKR Hulu Rajang chairman Abun Sui Anyit.
Nearly 300 PKR members attended the event. — DayakDaily