Aspiring female politicians should be given more exposure, opportunities - Munirah
2 Aug 2021
By Ilona Andrew
KOTA KINABALU: Kota Belud MP Isnairaissah Munirah Majilis said women who aspire to venture into politics should be given more exposure and opportunities in the arena.
Citing statistical data, she said the number of women parliamentary candidates has increased from 56 in the 2013 general election to 72 in the 2018 general election.
In Sabah, a total of 167 women contested for the state seats in 2018 compared to 113 in 2018, she added.
While this is a good development, she reckoned aspiring female politicians still need the exposure and opportunities that they need, such as getting appointed as senators so that the voices of women could be heard better.
“A quota should also not be set by political parties for women when it comes to involvement in politics. Instead, they should be evaluated based on their capabilities and qualification.
“If the number of capable women is more than the percentage set for the quota, why not? When we compete, we compete for out merit, not just because of our gender,” she said during a panel discussion by the Sabah Women’s Action-Resource Group (SAWO), yesterday.
“I don’t agree to the mentality where ‘as long as there are women’ (in the political arena) it should suffice, or else this will restraint talent development and this will be a great loss among women.”
Munirah also mentioned that based on her observation, one of the disadvantages for women venturing into politics is that they tend to be timid.
“It is nature for women to be timid and even I myself still have stage frights until now. But I believe that such attribute can slowly be toned down by giving women the political exposure they need.
“Instead of relying on women to table women issued in parliament, I think male politicians also play an important role to help women speak up,” she stated.
Apart from that, the Warisan Wirawati chief also opined that female candidates should not be put to contest for assembly seats that are impossible to secure.
The discussion was participated by women representatives of all political parties and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Sabah.
Aside from Munirah, other panellists who were involved in the discussions are DAP’s MP for Sandakan Vivian Wong, PKR's MP for Petaling Jaya Maria Chin Abdullah, and STAR’s State Assemblyman for Liawan Datuk Annuar Ayub Aman.
The forum was moderated by Wirawati Warisan deputy chief Jo-Anna Sue Henley Rampas and SAPP women exco deputy chief Yvonne Wong.