DPM: Qualifications still key despite gender quota

Ida Lim
The proportion of women in senior government positions remains below target, with only around 19 per cent or five women — including Dr Wan Azizah — out of the 27 ministers in the Cabinet. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

PUTRAJAYA, Aug 25 —The proposal for 30 per cent of local councillors to be women must still be based on their qualifications, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

Dr Wan Azizah, who is also women, family and community development minister, explained that such quotas do not eliminate the need to ensure that the right people are elevated.

“It’s good because we feel that women have to play a role too, but we have to see, as qualifications are needed too. That is one of the criteria,” she told reporters here.

Dr Wan Azizah was responding to Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin’s remarks yesterday that allocation for local councils may be reviewed if they fail to ensure 30 per cent of their councillors are women.

Dr Wan Azizah welcomed the proposal, but insisted that proper selection procedures will still be necessary.

When asked if the Election Commission should also draw up rules requiring political parties to ensure 30 per cent of election candidates are women, Dr Wan Azizah said such rigidity was not required.

Pakatan Harapan also could not meet the 30 per cent quota both for candidates fielded and government leaders appointed following its general election victory.

“No, that is for each (party) to have flexibility to choose,” she said.

The previous government had also pushed for 30 per cent women’s participation in decision-making positions.

The proportion of women in senior government positions remains below target, with only around 19 per cent or five women — including Dr Wan Azizah — out of the 27 ministers in the Cabinet.

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