Wanita PKR election director Haniza Talha has criticised Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem for fielding a meagre five women out of 82 candidates in the May 7 state election.
"This is a terrible failure on the part of Adenan to address the concerns of women voters across the state of Sarawak where more than 50 percent of voters are women," she said in a statement today.
Haniza pointed out that the number of women only represented six percent out of the total number of candidates contesting in the polls.
She added that in the 2011 Sarawak election, BN fielded four women candidates for the 71 seats (contested), which means this election only saw an improvement of 0.4 percent in terms of women representation.
"On the other hand, PKR will be fielding six women candidates, including for Batu Kitang and Simanggang seats, out of a total of 40 seats contested, which translates into 15 percent of women candidacy, up from four percent in the last election," she said.
Haniza accused BN Sarawak of straying from the country's agenda to promote gender equality and improving women participation in politics.
"Five women to represent a total of 571,462 women in Sarawak is grossly inappropriate and an act of discrimination towards women.
"This bias will lead to an even larger gender gap in Malaysia," she added.
She urged Sarawak voters to vote for more women representation so that women's needs would be acknowledged.
"We need fair representation so that these women state assemblypersons may bring up matters related to us and our family in the state legislative assembly.
"We women are primarily concerned over our children’s future and the welfare of our family and community. Women leaders are the only way to ensure that that happens," she said.