Malaysia’s new deputy PM aims to be a role model for women

PUTRAJAYA: Wan Azizah Wan Ismail’s youth aspiration was to end up a specialist and cure malady. Since she is Malaysia’s most effective female lawmaker, she says her main goal is to enhance ladies’ rights.

The 65-year-old impacted the world forever this month when she was named Malaysia’s agent head administrator. She is the primary lady to hold the post, and one of just a modest bunch of female government officials in high open office in Southeast Asia.

Wan Azizah has pledged to push for more noteworthy ladies’ rights in a nation where female portrayal in national governing bodies is among the world’s most minimal.

“Individuals gaze upward and say, ‘Indeed, we have trusts’,” Wan Azizah told the Thomson Reuters Foundation on Monday, in her first meeting since being sworn into office.

“Ladies currently observe that you can break boundaries, it can happen — with a tad of constancy, responsibility and conviction that you can really do it,” she said at her office in the regulatory capital, Putrajaya.

Wan Azizah has additionally been entrusted to head the Ministry of Women and Family Development.

In spite of the fact that it is Southeast Asia’s third-biggest economy and ladies for the most part have an advanced existence, Malaysia was positioned 104 out of 144 nations in the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Gender Gap Index subsequent to scoring ineffectively on political strengthening.

Prepared as an eye specialist, Wan Azizah was first pushed into legislative issues after her significant other, Anwar Ibrahim, was sacked as a delegate chief and imprisoned in 1998. She went ahead to lead a resistance front and prepared help for his discharge.

Crusading on a stage of change, Wan Azizah and the resistance cooperation cleared into control in the noteworthy May 9 survey, proclaiming the principal change of government since Malaysia picked up freedom from Britain in 1957.

Campaign promise not fulfilled

The soft-spoken politician said her priorities would include strengthening legislation to protect women from sexual harassment and abuse, especially in the wake of the global #MeToo campaign.

“There are some laws that you have to change, anti-harassment, anti-domestic violence, these are the things we have to go through,” she said.

The deputy premier said the government will also look into policies to help women in workplaces, especially mothers, by improving childcare facilities.

Despite Wan Azizah’s pledges, activists said the new government has failed to fulfill a campaign promise to ensure at least 30 per cent of ministers appointed to national and state governments are women.

“It’s not a quota. We have to fill the positions with people who are able to deliver,” Wan Azizah’s said, adding that the government is still committed to meeting the target.

Of the 14-member federal cabinet, three are women including Wan Azizah.

Campaigners said women are also being sidelined from positions in states like Johor, where only one of 11 state cabinet ministers is female.

The Inter-Parliamentary Union ranks Malaysia 155 out of 188 nations in terms of women’s representation in national legislatures, below less developed Southeast Asian nations such as East Timor, Vietnam and Laos.

Anwar, who is now free after receiving a pardon following the election, is expected to return to politics.

Wan Azizah rejected theories she is a seat warmer for her husband.

She pledged to continue her work to break cultural barriers and improve gender equality.

“It’s a slow process,” she said. “It’s going to take some time, with [the help of] some legislation and education.”—Thomson Reuters Foundation

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