ALMOST half of the members in the Selangor State Executive Council named by Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim are women.
Four high profile women state assemblymen were sworn in yesterday, along with six male counterparts at the Istana Alam Shah in Klang.
Kinrara assemblyman Teresa Kok Suh Sim of the DAP tops the list of women as she also holds the most important position among the 10 executive councillors as the only senior exco member.
The other three women are Batu Tiga assemblyman Rodziah Ismail of the PKR, Selat Klang assemblyman Dr Halimah Ali of PAS and Bukit Lanjan assemblyman Elizabeth Wong Keat Ping of the PKR.
“These people made it into the executive council line-up purely on merit and not due to any kind of special privileges given to the women,’’ Khalid told StarMetro after the swearing-in ceremony before Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah.
Khalid said they were all highly qualified and held academic qualifications in various fields, including medicine, engineering and communications.
Based on their performance in the general election, he said they fully deserved to be appointed as state executive councillors.
“I believe this is a record for Selangor since we never had women making up almost half of the exco members in the past. There were only two women executive councillors during the last term and this is really good for the womenfolk as a whole,” he said.
“It is a very positive development for the state and country. I have no doubts that they will execute their duties effectively as executive councillors,’’ he said
Teresa, 43, who is also the MP for Seputeh in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, has a masters degree in philosophy and a double-degree in communications and political science.
The Wanita DAP secretary said that she felt honoured, especially after being appointed the senior executive councillor.
She said it was a victory for the women folk since four female elected representatives had been appointed executive councillors in Selangor, the most developed and industrialised state in the country.
“It is a great achievement for women in line with our struggle for equality among man and woman, especially when nearly half of the voters in Selangor are women,” she said.
“We will ensure that the welfare of the womenfolk will not be neglected and they will be treated equally,’’ she said.
Rodziah said the appointment of four women into the 10-member executive council was an honour to all women in the state.
“I have always been talking about welfare and women's voice, so this line-up with 40% women representation would enable us to do that,” said the mother of three.
Rodziah holds a degree in civil engineering from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, a certificate in childhood education and development from Scotland and a diploma in Islamic education. She is the Keadilan women’s wing deputy chief.
Elizabeth, 38, meanwhile, expressed surprise over her appointment, but said she was looking forward to serve the people.
“Although my educational background was in arts, I have been involved in various issues during my involvement with Suara Rakyat Malaysia, the National Human Rights Association and the SOS Selangor,” she said.
She is the Keadilan women's liaison chief and the party's Petaling Jaya Utara liason chief.
Halimah, who used to operate a polyclinic at Taman Sungai Bertek in Klang, is a mother of six children. She was a successful doctor and two of her children are also studying medicine overseas.
Datuk Dr Hassan Mohamed Ali, the assemblyman for Gombak Setia, is the Selangor PAS commissioner.
The 61-year-old veteran politician holds a masters degree in town planning from the University of Pittsburgh and a Ph.D from the University of Wisconsin, both in the US.
Hassan had served as both the Sungei Burong assemblyman and MP for Parit Buntar from 1996 to 2000.
Kota Anggerik assemblyman Yaakob Sapari, 47, of the PKR, has a basic degree in agricultural business and an MBA, both from UPM.
Seri Andalas assemblyman Dr Xavier Jayakumar Arulanandam, 55, of the PKR is a dental surgeon. He is the PKR deputy secretary-general and Kota Raja division chief. “Some changes and programmes need to be done in order to help the Indians walk out of the poverty line and enjoy what the system provides out there,” Xavier said.
Chempaka assemblyman Iskandar Abdul Samad, 47, is an architect and Selangor PAS deputy commissioner (III).
Pandamaran assemblyman Ronnie Liu, 50, a lawyer and businessman, is a DAP central executive committee member. He has been actively involved in various controversial issues in the state, including the incinerator and anti-privatisation of water.
Seri Kembangan assemblyman Ean Yong Hian Wah, at 29, is the youngest executive councillor. The business administration graduate is the Selangor DAP chairman.