It's good first step for women in Parliament

In Summary

• Women hold 23 percent of seats in Senate and National Assembly.

• The Constitution states that one gender should not hold not more than two-thirds of elective posts.

Kandara MP Alice Wahome arrive in Parliament in a white head band in support of the the two-thirds gender rule bill. November 20, 2018.
Kandara MP Alice Wahome arrive in Parliament in a white head band in support of the the two-thirds gender rule bill. November 20, 2018.
Image: FILE

The Representation of Special Interest Groups Bill now in the National Assembly will ensure that political parties have at least one-third women on their electoral lists.

If parties fail to put forward one-third women candidates, then the Independent Election and Boundaries Commission will reject their lists.

Presently women hold just 23 percent of the seats in the Senate and National Assembly, including the 47 seats reserved for women reps in Parliament.

It is impossible to guarantee that there will be one-third women in Parliament because you cannot force voters to choose a woman rather than a man. And it would be prohibitively expensive to nominate women MPs to top up their numbers to meet the constitutional requirement.

The best way forward is to ensure that the party lists of candidates have at least one-third women.  The political parties will have to balance their primaries and direct nominations to ensure that they have the right balance on their line-up.

The women candidates may not all be elected but it will take us closer to one-third women in Parliament, especially when the 47 women reps lift up the numbers.

Quote of the day: "When you are in the government, you have to demonise your opposition."

Mahathir Mohamad
The Prime Minister of Malaysia was born on July 10, 1925