27 November 2019
Women constitute 50.58 per cent of the Malaysian electorate. They are a vital constituency for both the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government and the opposition.
On one hand, PH has smashed the glass ceiling with the appointments of Malaysia’s first female deputy prime minister, first female chief justice and first female anti-corruption chief commissioner. PH has also outperformed its predecessor, Barisan Nasional (BN), by appointing five female ministers and four female deputy ministers.
On the other hand, PH’s initiatives targetting women do not appear to be received with enthusiasm by the majority of the Malay Muslim women, who form around 60 per cent of the Malaysian women’s electorate. Overall, nearly 60 per cent of Malays are dissatisfied with PH’s performance, according to a survey earlier this year by Ilham Centre and Penang Institute.
Significantly, around 59 per cent of these respondents thought that PH was driven by a liberal agenda.
… Policies that empower women take time to implement and accrue appreciable benefits. However, considering the significance of female voters and the potential for their greater contribution to the economy, both PH and BN can be expected to push on with their female empowerment programmes.
The question now is how it is to be framed within Malaysia’s evolving political and socio-economic frameworks.
… Piya Sukhani is a Research Analyst with the Malaysia Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University.
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 28/11/2019