Concerted push to have more women fielded as candidates

Meeting of minds: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob sharing a light moment with Heng (wearing face mask) during the Wanita Barisan Nasional Convention at World Trade Centre Kuala Lumpur. — AZMAN GHANI/The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Umno will try to meet its Wanita wing’s call for women to make up 30% of its candidates in the 15th General Election, says Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan.

“The party will try but on a best-effort basis,” the Umno deputy president said, adding that he cannot make promises.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the Wanita Barisan Nasional Convention here yesterday, the Umno deputy president, who is also Barisan deputy chairman, said it is important to field candidates who could gain the confidence of voters and win their seats.

Wanita Umno chief Datuk Seri Dr Noraini Ahmad has urged the party’s leadership in March to allocate a 30% quota for women candidates in GE15.

Meanwhile, Wanita MCA chief Datuk Heng Seai Kie said the law should be amended to allow automatic citizenship to be conferred on children born abroad to Malaysian mothers with foreign spouses.

In her speech at the convention, Heng cited the Home Ministry’s statistics as showing that only 19 out of the 3,407 applications to the National Registration Department (NRD) by such mothers between 2018 and 2022 were approved.

“Laws like this are clearly an unfair gender discrimination towards women and must be amended immediately.

“More than 150 countries around the world have amended their laws to give male and female citizens equal rights.

“Unfortunately, Malaysia is one of the 25 countries that have yet to update these archaic laws,” she added.Last week, the Court of Appeal held that only children born abroad to Malaysian fathers with foreign spouses are entitled to citizenship by operation of law.

Heng also called for a ban on child marriage and the minimum marriageable age to be set at 18 years old, adding that the NRD’s statistics had shown that divorce rates were the highest among those aged below 18.

She said child marriage should also be seen in the context of safety and the basic rights of children in line with international conventions, regardless of creed or faith.

Heng also called on the authorities such as the police and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission to act on cybercrimes and monitor social media content that is inappropriate.

Joining the calls of her fellow Barisan women leaders, Heng said she hoped 30% of all Barisan parliamentary and state seats for the 15th General Election be allocated to women candidates.

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