Najib makes 30pc Senate quota for women a campaign promise

By Ida Nadirah Ibrahim

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 6 — Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak has turned his proposal for 30 per cent of senators to be women into a pledge to be delivered if Barisan Nasional (BN) regains its parliamentary supermajority.

Responding to earlier exhortations from Wanita Umno chief Tan Sri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, he said that a strong mandate for BN would allow it to follow through on this promise.

“If we win big this general election, we will amend the constitution to include the 30 per cent quota in Dewan Negara for women representatives” he said at the Putra World Trade Centre where the Umno annual assembly is taking place.

Najib said he has high hopes the party’s women’s wing will work hard at the coming general elections so he can fulfil his pledge.

Najib who is also prime minister also presented the ‘Ibu Terbaik Bangsa’ (Best Mother of the Nation) award to the heirs of three deceased Wanita Umno division leaders who died over the past four years.

The recipients were the kin of former Wanita Jerlun division chief Datuk Maznah Hamid, former Kuala Krau division chief Norahan Abu Bakar, and former Wanita Muar chief Ramlah Ismail.

Shahrizat later told reporters that her wing takes a serious view of Najib’s pledge and will work hard to meet his expectation.

“We take this matter seriously and will go all out to ensure the president will keep his promise.

“Currently there is already over 20 per cent of women representatives in the upper House. We can wait a little bit more after the elections to achieve the target since the polls will be happening soon,” she said, referring to the Dewan Negara, the upper House of Parliament.

Najib first mooted the 30 per cent women quota for the senate at the Women in Politics Conference here last Monday.