Women's group condemns removal of qualified women leaders from GLCs

Datuk Dr Narimah Awin

PETALING JAYA: The Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) has condemned the “irrational” move by the Perikatan Nasional government to replace qualified women leaders in government-linked companies (GLCs) with "non-qualified" individuals.

JAG is also urging for the reinstatement of Datuk Dr Narimah Awin (pic) who, on Monday (June 15), was replaced by Umno’s Parit MP Datuk Mohd Nizar Zakaria as National Population and Family Development Board (LPPKN) chairperson.

The ongoing replacement of highly qualified leaders such as Dr Narimah with political appointees in GLCs was concerning, said JAG in a statement endorsed by 11 civil society groups.

“JAG strongly condemns the removal of qualified women leaders in various GLCs and other organisations under the Perikatan government without a valid explanation.

“Such a move is a clear step backwards for the meaningful participation of women in leadership and decision-making.

“Since Perikatan came to power in March 2020, many women leaders have been abruptly terminated and removed from their positions despite their vast experience and excellent credentials, ” said JAG in a statement on Thursday (June 18).

Among the women who have been removed from their positions are former Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) chairperson Dr Hasnita Hashim and former Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) chairperson Datuk Noor Farida Mohd Ariffin.

Former Bank Rakyat chairperson Datuk Noripah Kamso and former Bernama chief executive officer Nurini Kassim were terminated from their positions in April and May respectively.

JAG said the move to terminate Dr Narimah as LPPKN chairman was bizarre and baffling, considering her experience in the medical field.

Dr Narimah has a Masters in Public Health from the University of Philippines and 30 years of experience in the Health Ministry, and her last post there was as the Family Health Development division director in 2007.

“LPPKN focuses on women and family health, fertility and family planning, and Dr Narimah has served in this position well.

“She has vast experience in family and reproductive health both locally and internationally, ” it said.

JAG said the gender imbalance in leadership positions could have a long-term impact on the progress of women.

“This will, in turn, affect the economy and Malaysia's recovery after the movement control order (MCO), ” it said.

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