Tuesday, September 2, 2014


like most women, once a supporter of pkr and friend of anwar.  i can honestly vouch kak wan is better off as a grandma than wanting and hoping and wishing to be mb of selangor.


Boo Su-Lyn, Malay Mail Online
As a feminist, I don’t want the first woman mentri besar in Malaysia to be PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
Her appointment would not herald a breakthrough for women in Malaysian politics and it would not change the status quo.
Women face many obstacles in the political realm. In Malaysia, only one out of 10 members of Parliament is a woman. We have yet to have a female prime minister, unlike our neighbouring countries like Thailand or the Philippines and Indonesia  that have had women presidents.
This, of course, reflects the difficulty that women have in climbing the political ladder in Umno, the lynchpin party in Malaysia’s long-ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN). Wanita Umno’s recent proposal to have a fourth vice-presidential seat created exclusively for women bears testament to the thick glass ceiling in the party.
In Pakatan Rakyat (PR) parties ― PKR, DAP and PAS ― women are also a minority in leadership positions.
PKR fares the best as its president is a woman, Dr Wan Azizah. Nurul Izzah Anwar is the sole female vice-president out of four in PKR. Never mind that the two are party de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s family.
In the DAP, there is one woman ― Teresa Kok ― in the five-member vice-chairman line-up.
Islamist party PAS, however, has no women in their three vice-presidential seats.
Women’s Centre for Change (WCC) Penang said in a recent statement that competency is frequently raised when it comes to women leaders, but not to men.
The women’s NGO added that a female mentri besar would signal a “momentous breakthrough in Malaysian politics.”
WCC Penang is wrong in pushing aside the issue of competency when it comes to Dr Wan Azizah. It’s because she is the spouse of opposition leader Anwar that her qualifications as MB are questioned, not because she’s a woman. If Dr Wan Azizah were the husband of a female opposition leader, his merits would be equally questioned.
What message would we be giving to young women if Dr Wan Azizah were to be the country’s first female chief minister?
That who you marry is more important than your skills and abilities?
The feminist movement has fought hard to get women the right to vote and to enter the male-dominated world of politics. We struggle for women leaders to be recognised in their own right. We want to show that women leaders have their own ideas and policies that should be taken just as seriously as their male counterparts’.
But here, we have a woman nominated as Selangor MB in replacement of her husband, who was originally meant to take that post.
Dr Wan Azizah’s supporters point to her leadership of PKR when Anwar was thrown into jail in 1998. She became the first female parliamentary opposition leader during her husband’s absence.
After her husband was imprisoned, Dr Wan Azizah contested and won the Permatang Pauh federal seat, which was previously held by Anwar, in 1999 and in two subsequent general elections, before resigning in 2008 to pave the way for a by-election that Anwar won.
Datuk Seri Wan Azizah speaks at the 2014 PKR Congress in Shah Alam, August 24, 2014. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa The Kajang Move was also originally intended for Anwar ― not Dr Wan Azizah ― to contest the state seat, which would allow him to enter the Selangor legislative assembly and become the next mentri besar.
But Dr Wan Azizah, yet again, stood in for her husband after he was disqualified from contesting Kajang when the Court of Appeal sentenced him to five years’ jail for sodomy.
Yes, Dr Wan Azizah had led PKR during its infancy years. But that was because her husband was in prison. Her other leadership positions ― whether in Parliament or in the Selangor assembly ― were assumed in lieu of her husband. She may be the party president, but her husband is still the de facto leader and the parliamentary opposition leader.
Women’s rights groups Empower, All Women’s Action Society, Perak Women for Women and Sisters in Islam reportedly said in a statement Sunday that women in politics frequently face “sexist double standards” and that women often have to prove themselves, unlike their male counterparts.
I’m not saying that Dr Wan Azizah does not have the chops to be the Selangor MB. She may be fully qualified and she may very well be able to pick things up quickly on the job.
It is not because of her gender that Dr Wan Azizah needs to prove herself; it’s because of her relationship to Anwar.
Even then, her relationship to Anwar may not actually matter much if Dr Wan Azizah could show us that she wants the Selangor MB post for herself, and not merely to keep the seat warm until her husband is free to take over. Unfortunately, her track record shows her repeatedly moving aside for her husband.
That is not the kind of woman leader I want.
Malaysia’s first female chief minister should be a force to be reckoned with. A trailblazer for other aspiring female politicians. Someone who is determined to get the job done and will not let anyone take it away from her.
Yet, Dr Wan Azizah has done nothing much, since she was first touted as Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim’s replacement, to fight for the post or to dismiss claims of nepotism.
The ones who have been doing all the talking are other PKR leaders like Rafizi Ramli and Datuk Saifuddin Nasution Ismail. She rarely gave press conferences or issued media statements throughout the long-drawn crisis.
A reporter who covered the recent PKR congress told me that a delegate had called Dr Wan Azizah the “Mother of Selangor.” Her demeanour, he said, was more akin to that of a sweet grandmother than an MB-elect of the country’s wealthiest state.
Another reporter told me it was Anwar, Saifuddin Nasution and Rafizi who mostly handled the backroom negotiations, while it was unclear what exactly Dr Wan Azizah’s role was.
I don’t expect Dr Wan Azizah to be a brash “Iron Lady”, but she should be the one out there proving her detractors wrong and seizing one of Malaysia’s most coveted government posts for herself.
She should be the one leading her own campaign, not leaving it to her party generals.
She should be the one telling PAS to back off.
During the Teluk Intan by-election, for example, DAP candidate Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud was out there every day beseeching voters to give her the seat and telling the press about her campaign, albeit with much guidance from party leaders. But her fiery determination was clear to see. The young woman wanted to win.
Unfortunately, Dr Wan Azizah doesn’t seem to want the Selangor MB job, not badly enough anyway to take ownership of the whole messy situation.
Dr Wan Azizah is just the good wife and the reluctant politician.

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