NGO: No women in Sabah Cabinet line-up a disappointment, backward move

  • Nation
  • Friday, 09 Oct 2020

KOTA KINABALU: It is a disappointing and backward move that no women were included in the Sabah Cabinet line-up, says Sabah Women's Action Resource Group (Sawo) operations officer Amy Marcus.

“All of the positions are taken up by men, including the social development portfolio, which is usually the token position given to a woman politician, ” she said.

Marcus said women’s representation in the Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN) has been decreasing over the years and is now less than 10%.

She said in the previous government, Datuk Christina Liew was appointed as a deputy Chief Minister as well as the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment.

But in this new Gabungan Rakyat Sabah-led (GRS) Cabinet, women are now not even considered qualified to handle social development issues in the state, a portfolio normally given to women in Sabah.

She said the message sent by the new government to women was loud and clear — that they did not think women mattered in the decision making level.

“Our message to the new government: Ignore women at your own peril.

“We have seen how countries with women leaders have done better in combating the Covid-19 pandemic, ” Marcus said.

Some examples include Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, Mette Frederiksen, Prime Minister of Denmark, Katrin Jakodsdottir, Prime Minister of Iceland, Sanna Marin, Prime Minister of Finland and Tsai Ing-Wen, President of the Republic of China (Taiwan).

She said in this 21st century, women all over the world are taking their rightful place in leading their communities and countries.

The question of whether women were able to lead was no longer an issue, though not in Sabah, she said.

“This is such a shame because when women are empowered, the whole society including families and communities, would gain, ” she said.

The six nominated assemblymen should resign because as a country that practised a democratic electoral system, individuals who deserved to be nominated should be those who stood in the just completed state election.

“The six best losing women candidates very much deserve to be appointed as nominated assemblymen because they actually ran for the election and captured between 35% to 42% of the total votes cast in their respective constituencies, ” Marcus said.

Instead, five men and one woman who did not even stand in the previous election were nominated, she said.

To add insult to injury, a PAS member whose party did not even compete in the election was appointed, she said.

“We call upon all those appointed to show a sense of fair play and justice to make way for the six ‘best losers’ women who had the guts to stand for election and did pretty well at that, ” Marcus said.

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