MAKING up almost half of Malaysia’s electoral roll, women voters will be a key bloc in the coming 15th General Election (GE15).
As some Malaysian women tell Sunday Star, they want more trustworthy, high calibre and committed candidates in GE15.
“We also need to have more female representation in politics, especially those of high calibre,” says digital entrepreneur Jasmin Amirul Ghani, who adds it’s good to have a blend of both the old and the young in politics.
“The older generation brings their years of experience and wisdom, while the younger generation have fresher ideas and represent the needs of the youth.
“I’m not saying that one is better than the other; it’s about combining the best of the two,” says the Kuala Lumpur-based 49-year-old.
“It’s about how much a politician can make a difference in improving what we have, how much they can fight for what’s right, rather than just the usual run of the mill.”
It’s definitely important to prevent and address the issue of corruption for the country to progress, Jasmin adds.
“I would like to see what the [new] government can do to clean things up in this area.”
She says another issue she would like to see addressed is ageism, which is very real in the employment market.
“I’m not talking about people in their 60s or 70s; even people in their 40s face age discrimination.
“A lot of companies advertise for jobs with a certain age range, for example ‘this job is only open to individuals who are between 20 and 30 years old’.
“But people should be hired for their skill and talent, it shouldn’t be based on their age – or whether they’re too old or too young. Employers shouldn’t validate such discrimination through age limits, and this should be addressed at policy level, and the government needs to be involved.
“I would like to see the government more focused on addressing this issue and implementing policies to make sure age discrimination doesn’t occur,” Jasmin stresses.
For interior designer Selina Lim, 54, what is important is for the Member of Parliament to be accessible to the community.
“They have to be able to listen with reason, and be able to decide what’s best for the people.
“They have to be hands-on, trustworthy and prove their mettle. And they must also be willing to acknowledge it if they make any mistakes, and apologise.”
Adds the KLite, for GE15, she hopes for a clean and fair election, and a government that is free from corruption.
“Politicians need to be focused on the important issue – serving the people – and not get sidetracked by non-essential issues that don’t really benefit the rakyat.
“To be a good politician, a person needs to be gender-sensitive, they need to know how to respect women and be sensitive to women’s needs too,” says Lim.
Like many Malaysians, auditor Mayura Chanthrasuwan, 36, worries about inflation, poverty and social stability in the country. For the upcoming elections, the Kedahah hopes the winning government will prioritise the rakyat’s interest. The woman of Thai descent wants the new government to meet the needs of its people without looking at race, colour or creed.
“It is my wish that the new government end all race and religion-based issues. I hope Malay-sians can move forward as a nation instead of being segregated by race,” says Chanthrasuwan, stressing that she will vote for any party that has no corruption and pushes for racial equality.
She hopes the new government will also revive the economy until Malaysia becomes a developed nation: “For example, our ringgit has sunk to its lowest since the Asian financial crisis. Malaysian inflation jumped to 4.4% recently, and this has caused a rise in food prices. This is very worrying,” says Chanthrasuwan, who was born in Sungei Petani, Kedah, and is based in Kuala Lumpur.
To build a better Malaysia, Chanthrasuwan hopes Malaysian citizens will come out to exercise their right to vote when the time comes.
“I am looking for a dedicated political party passionate about the betterment of the country. As Malaysians, we want a leader who exhibits integrity. Let’s vote for a party that unites Malaysians.”
For the upcoming elections, Daisy Rita Savarimuthu, 63, wants the new government to address several issues including the nation’s high financial debts, soaring inflation rates and ailing political scene.
“The widening gap between the rich and the poor will need to be quickly addressed in GE15 before the nation plunges into even darker times,” says the grandmother of three from Petaling Jaya.
The retired Malaysia Deposit Insurance Corp associate officer adds that good corporate governance, inclusiveness and independence of the judiciary is what she wants from the new government.
“Confidence in government machinery, equitable distribution of wealth and educational selection and merit-based promotions will help to reduce the brain drain of the crème de la creme of our professionals.
“This will not only reinstate public confidence but bring Malaysia back to its glory days that most baby boomers like me lived through. We would like our children and grandchildren to inherit it too,” says the mother of two.
Regarding the factors that will influence the party she votes for, Savarimuthu says it boils down to candidates who are sincere in looking into the rakyat’s needs.
“Any selfless candidate who promotes religious and racial harmony regardless of the party he or she represents will always be a candidate of my choice.
“My dream is to have a government that can rebuild a moderate, inclusive nation that will shine again in the global arena.”