GE15: Choose credible women leaders, says analyst
SHAH ALAM - It is necessary for merits to be considered when choosing female representation so that the parties will not simply choose anyone just to fill in the women’s 30 per cent quota in the political landscape of the country.
BowerGroupAsia senior analyst Arinah Najwa said there was a risk that some political parties might be pushing women as a political gesture to capture the hearts of voters, hence why merits were crucial when adding female representatives.
She further said it was possible that some political parties will be using this for the sake of the show that they were inclusive and attentive to everyone in the society.
“For sure I think there’s definitely a risk of simply pushing women just to fill in the quota.
“That’s why I mentioned that merits should not be sacrificed. The bare minimum of requirements should remain because we also don’t want to be a token but at the same time I think that is what parties are pushing for to have more representation.
“A lot of parties now will reach out and say that they have got more women, indigenous people, different kinds of community so that people will vote for them,” she said.
Arinah said this during Sinar Daily’s Wacana English Edition programme entitled “GE15: Dates are set, are you ready?” on Friday.
However, she said it was also important to acknowledge that parties with strong female representation like Wanita Umno have been the backbone of the party for years and might need more push to be at the front line.
“If we look back at history, Wanita Umno has been a strong election machinery already where they have been around for years and they have been the backbone of the party, although I do agree that the question now is, are they at the forefront?
“In Malaysia, we have less than 20 per cent of female representation in Parliament, same goes to ministers, so how do we get that 30 per cent role?
“I think at this moment, even if it is a political gesture, as long as you don’t sacrifice merits, at least there is some level of representation,” she said.
Arinah also questioned the extra pressure put on women when they were as capable as men to become the candidates of the parties.
She said there was a need for the political parties to push the women forward as long as they fulfill the criteria or merits needed to be in the position.
“No one really places the pressure on male candidates, like no one really questions if they are credible enough to be there, so why put extra pressure on women?.
“If you feel like there are women who would like to represent themselves and meet the criteria, then go ahead and push them. I’m all for that,” she added.
Apart from Arinah, political analyst Associate Professor Mohd Azizuddin Mohd Sani and UiTM Associate Professor Soo Wincci also sat as panelists in the programme as they discussed on the 15th General Election (GE15), the voter turnout, contesting candidates and campaigning period.