The Malaysian government is committed to ensuring that women enjoy their human rights and fundamental freedom, said Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
She said in realising this commitment, the government is working towards formulating a gender equality bill as an investment for the country at several levels.
"The commitment towards increasing women’s leadership representation in the government is clearly evidenced by the number of senior cabinet ministerial appointments.
"Currently, we have five women ministers (17.86 percent) out of 28 ministers and four women deputy ministers (14.81 percent) out of 27 deputy ministers," she said in her speech when officiating at The Big Tulip Summit - Women in Business, Industry and Government Programme being held in Kuala Lumpur for two days beginning today.
The programme themed 'The Power of Purpose, Positivity and Resilience' is organised by the Othman Yeop Abdullah Graduate School of Business, Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM).
Wan Azizah said at present, in Malaysia there are 32 women (14.41 percent) out of 222 members in the House of Representatives and 13 women (19.4 percent) out of 67 in the Senate.
The increase in percentage of women in the field of politics would ensure more women’s voices could be heard at the highest level of decision making in the country, she added.
She said the National Policy on Women and its Action Plan is also a reflection of the government’s commitment to ensure the participation of women in achieving their full potential in the country’s planning and development.
"Therefore, I urge all women leaders to pay it forward and give back to our society. Together we can move the women agenda onwards to have more women as respected and successful members of board of directors and to be emulated as mentors and coaches," she said.
Wan Azizah said this would change the lives of vulnerable urban and poor women and address issues of social ills afflicting women.
Meanwhile, on the Big Tulip Summit, she said the programme is an appropriate platform in providing attendees with much needed insights and experiences to accelerate career and personal development.
“The government is supportive of UUM’s future initiatives that are in line with the government’s policies to advance and strengthen women’s role in society,” she said.
Meanwhile, when asked to comment on recent media reports pertaining to 52 government servants being dropped from a special course to become administrative and diplomatic officers (PTD), Wan Azizah said she would have to check with the relevant authorities on the matter.
According to a news portal those dropped from the course were four contract workers who were said to have automatically lost their jobs, while 48 civil servants were ordered to return to their old jobs.
The contract termination took place after National Institute of Public Administration (Intan) and Public Service Department (PSD) increased the passing grade for the Diploma in Public Administration Postgraduate programme.