• Ilona Andrew

Be brave when venturing into politics, says Vivian Wong


Vivian Wong speaking during the panel discussion.

2 Aug 2021

By Ilona Andrew


KOTA KINABALU: Sandakan MP Vivian Wong said women must have the bravery to speak up when venturing into politics to fight against the familial norms against women that may have affected the aspiration of many women to participate in politics.


Speaking during a panel discussion yesterday, she said leadership skills, along with their capabilities, is crucial for aspiring female politicians who wish to venture into the political sphere.


“Women must also possess and show bravery when speaking up for women, although some of us tend to feel inferior or intimidated by male politicians.


“We have to force ourselves to speak up no matter how timid we are inside. As Sabahans, we cannot lose this chance in Parliament,” she said during the discussion by the Sabah Women’s Action-Resource Group (SAWO).


The discussion was participated by women representatives of all political parties and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Sabah.


Aside from Vivian, other panellists who were involved in the discussions are PKR's Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah, Warisan’s Kota Belud MP Isnaraissah Munirah, and STAR’s Liawan State Assemblyman 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.

Meanwhile, Vivian said leadership skills can be instilled from a young age if women were groomed for politics as early as possible.


“It is not easy to inculcate leadership among women as we can see that there’s only that many women voices in Parliament now.


“Therefore, to groom them, we need the assistance of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) or political parties in seeking opportunities to polish their skills.


“But first, women need to step up and not be shy to speak up for nation-building by educating women in Sabah (about politics), especially in rural areas, as they can be leaders of the nation.”


Women should not be discriminated against just because of their gender or that they belong “in the kitchen”, she added.


Vivian also encouraged women who are currently doing something significant to the country to share their experiences and ideas in order to empower and encourage aspiring female leaders.


“With that, we can understand the impacts that we are going to bring in the decision-making of the policy if we have more female voices.


“Currently, Malaysia is ranked 117th out of 152 countries for women participation in politics. That is 11 per cent, which is very low,” she said.


Vivian added that there are fewer female politicians in the current cabinet line-up compared to when PH was the government in which a female leader was appointed as the deputy prime minister for the first time in Malaysian history.