Toh Puan Rahimah Stephens was one of very few iconic women leaders - Christina Liew
Toh Puan Rahimah Stephens.
14 Mac 2022
By Wartawan Nabalu News
KOTA KINABALU: The late Toh Puan Rahimah Stephens was one of the very few iconic women leaders of her era, said former Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Christina Liew. The Tawau MP cum Api Api Assemblywoman described the charismatic leader as a source of inspiration to women political aspirants of the seventies and eighties to follow in her footsteps. In her glowing tribute to Toh Puan Rahimah, Liew said : "Known for her wish to improve women's livelihood, her unprecedented appointment as Minister of Community Services and National Unity in 1976 changed the political landscape for women in Sabah. The historic move marked the awakening of political consciousness in the women community. "More importantly, it invariably paved the way for the political representation of Sabah women in the State Legislative Assembly and State Cabinet from the eighties onwards. "Younger contemporaries may not be aware that Kolnah Ghani (then a rural health nurse in Kinabatangan) was appointed as a Nominated Assemblywoman to enable her to become Assistant Minister to Toh Puan Rahimah. "At the same time, Tenom teacher Leong Pau Chu (now Datuk) was handpicked to become Political Secretary to Toh Puan Rahimah." Although it is history now, the present and future generations of women ought to know the political history of their foremothers or predecessors, Liew said. "This is because having a woman as a political secretary or nominated member of the State Legislature, let alone a woman minister, was unheard of in the sixties, even after the State's first elections in 1967." She offered her heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family.