KUALA LUMPUR, March 8 – Pengerang MP Azalina Othman Said has urged the government to split the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry (KPWKM) into two parts focusing on women and children.
Affairs related to welfare and family, she said, could be shifted to the National Unity Ministry instead. The Social Welfare Department (JKM) is currently under KPWKM’s purview.
Malaysia was ranked 112 out of 156 countries in the Global Gender Gap 2021 report by the World Economic Forum, behind other Asean countries: the Philippines (17th), Laos (36th), Singapore (54th), Thailand (79th), Vietnam (87th), Indonesia (101st), Cambodia (103rd), Myanmar (109th), and Brunei (111st).
The report benchmarks progress on disparities between men and women across countries on economic, education, health, and political outcomes.
“I think maybe it’s time for the government to split the Women’s Ministry into two segments – the Women and Children’s Ministry,” Azalina told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday while debating the motion of thanks on the royal address.
She pointed out that there are a multitude of women’s and children’s issues with large populations.
“I also want to suggest that welfare and family issues be transferred to the Unity Ministry. Our unity minister, for example, has much experience as a state executive councillor and a Cabinet minister to handle unity issues,” said Azalina, referring to National Unity Minister Halimah Mohamed Sadique.
Halimah served in various roles in the Johor exco from 1995 to 2008 in various portfolios, such as on unity and community welfare; family development, woman affairs and health; and local government and health.
“Unity is a family issue, family is a welfare issue, and welfare is a unity issue,” added Azalina.
The Umno lawmaker, who is also a special advisor to Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob on law and human rights, further urged the government to debate the National Human Rights Commission of Malaysia’s (Suhakam) annual reports in Parliament, especially since Malaysia sits on the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC).
Malaysia was elected last October to the HRC for the 2022-2024 term.
“It’s pointless being seen by the eyes of the world as if we protect human rights, but we forget to talk about, and thus fail to protect, Malaysian human rights,” said Azalina.