Social activist calls on State government for more women councillors

Voon Shiak Ni (File photo)

KUCHING, March 7: Social activist Voon Shiak Ni called on the Ministry of Local Government and Housing (MLGH) to appoint more women into local councils.

In a statement today, Voon said the number of women elected as councillors in the State is still low.

“I am hopeful that the women in Sarawak can be accorded more opportunities and given more recognition for their contributions in building Sarawak,” she said.

Voon said it is still a letdown for the women in Sarawak as efforts to promote gender equality is hardly felt, as seen in the 12th Sarawak Election (PRN12), where less than 15 per cent of the candidates are women, and also the appointment of women into the State Cabinet.

According to her, women constitute 50 per cent of the electorate roll, and it is only fair that women are given at least 30 per cent in political representation.

She pointed out that women societies are also calling for the same opportunities available to men to be made available to women.

“Politicians in Sarawak have said that women deserve more than 30 per cent and a quota is unnecessary. But years have passed, and we are not getting any nearer to even 20 per cent.”

She opined that setting a 30 per cent quota is a step to getting the ball rolling towards gender equality, and only a strong political will by the government can make that happen.

“To quote a statement by the Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Zuraida Kamaruddin, she said that women make up 34 per cent of board members of the agencies under her purview.

“I applaud her political will, and she has given me the opportunity too by appointing me to serve in one of the agencies under the Malaysian Pepper Board.

“Zuraida also said that over 120 countries provide specific quotas for women either in the form of provisions enshrined in national constitutions, party constitutions or electoral laws such as in South Korea, Thailand, Turkey, France, and the Philippines,” she said. ― DayakDaily