KOTA KINABALU: A women’s advocacy group Sabah Women's Action Resource Group (Sawo) wants the government to consider special funding for parties with at least one woman MP.
In the statement the group's spokesman Amy Marcus said the government should take up recommendations by the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) for RM10mil to be provided for parties that succeed to elect one woman parliamentarian.
Among recommendations proposed was an annual public funding of RM133mil for political parties at the parliamentary level to increase the transparency of political party funding and level the playing ground between ruling parties and Opposition parties.
Marcus said the recommendation by the study, “Public Funding of Political Parties in Malaysia: Debates, Case Studies and Recommendations” for RM10mil was in the right direction to promote women’s participation in politics.
"Sawo sees as imperative for governments at all levels to increase percentage of women decision makers in all bodies, including legislature and Cabinet," she said.
Women’s representation has seen a very slow growth at all levels of government, she said, adding that only 14.4% of elected parliamentarians are women.
"It is shameful that Malaysia ranks 142nd out of 190 countries surveyed by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in this regard.
"We at SAWO truly believe that providing financial support to parties with women MPs is the key to raise women’s participation in politics, which in turn, can improve our country as a whole," she added.
Marcus said there were four women MPs from Sabah (Noorita Sual, Datuk Christina Liew, Vivian Wong and Isnaraissah Munirah) to push further women's representation in their parties.
She said the Sabah state government could also "pioneer and introduce" such special fund for all parties that succeed to elect at least one woman assemblymen in Sabah’s next state election.
Sawo felt that a vast improvement in women’s representation in the State Legislative Assembly was badly in need as only six representative in the state's 73-member house are women.