PKR show some Respect –Women can be Leaders not Seat Warmers


December 29, 2016

PKR show some Respect –Women can be Leaders not Seat Warmers

by Dr Kua Kia Soong@www.freemalaysiatoday.com

Image result for Angela Merkel

Angela Merkel is a living example of a Woman in Power

From the first time that she entered the political arena as the candidate for the Parliamentary seat of Permatang Pauh after her husband’s incarceration, Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (Kak Wan) has been treated as the seat warmer for Anwar Ibrahim until whenever he is released and available to contest in the election. The latest such gambit is the suggestion by Lim Kit Siang that she should be made interim prime minister if the opposition wins the next general election.

Image result for Maggie Thatcher Quotes

Yes, Maggie, but you were never an Interim Prime Minister of Great Britain

Is that paying equal respect to women as candidates in the political process? Is that paying equal respect to Kak Wan? Does that suggestion accurately reflect the position that the opposition coalition has on women as political candidates? And overall, what are opposition supporters to conclude about the standing of women within the opposition?

These are not of course not the only times that Kak Wan has been suggested to be the seat warmer for Anwar. During the hare-brained “Kajang Move” in 2014, Kak Wan was supposed to have been the “interim menteri besar” for Selangor except that the plans went awry and Azmin Ali ended up as the MB instead. The consequences of this ill-thought-out political scheme had even more serious consequences for the Pakatan Rakyat coalition when PAS was ejected from the coalition.

Women are NOT seat warmers for their husbands

Image result for Wan Azizah and Anwar

In 2008, Kak Wan had to resign her seat to make way for her husband to retake the Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat in a by-election even though either the Chief Minister of Penang or the MB of Selangor could have relinquished their seats for Anwar since they already had enough on their plates in looking after their own respective states. Nonetheless, as far as I know, no feminist at that time raised any objections even though Kak Wan was already an elected Member of Parliament in her own right.

Considering that she is now being considered to be the candidate for “interim prime minister”, isn’t it strange that in 2008, none of the men in Pakatan Rakyat thought that Kak Wan deserved to keep her parliamentary seat while alternative arrangements could have been made to accommodate Anwar such as I have suggested above? This is a basic feminist demand.

However, during the so-called Kajang Move, “feminist” arguments were suddenly proffered to justify Kak Wan being the “interim menteri besar of Selangor” when it was evident that the choice of Kak Wan or Azmin Ali was the bone of contention between DAP, PKR and PAS. Concerned Malaysians should note that this was the real cause of the ejection of PAS from the opposition coalition and not the hudud issue as it is often made out to be. After all, hudud has been part and parcel of PAS ideology since the Islamic party started decades ago.

Should the MB for Selangor be decided on merit or can feminist arguments be used to justify Kak Wan as the “interim” MB? Note that it is not clear if the argument is for Kak Wan to be MB in her own right, on her own strengths, or whether this is an argument for why she cannot be the “interim” MB.

Is there hope for an eternal “interim” coalition?

Image result for Dr Mahathir

Interim Opposition Coalition Prime Minister–Dr. Mahathir Mohamad?

So long as the opposition coalition cannot envision a leadership without Anwar, it will be continually thinking in “interim” circles while excuses will continue to be shovelled out for why there cannot be a shadow cabinet at this stage. As for policies, their differentia specifica visavis Barisan Nasional is not clear. This is the core weakness of the Pakatan Harapan coalition, not anything else. Real feminist issues like that of ensuring a greater representation of women will be relegated to such tokenistic concessions as being the “interim prime minister” or whatever.

Is the lady for turning?

Image result for golda meir quotes

This is my New Year’s Message to the Young Women and Men in my country, Malaysia. Never allow our corrupt and incompetent leaders to lead you by your noses like Kerbaus (Buffaloes) and Lembus ( Cows). Stand Up and Be Counted because we can individually and collectively make a difference. If we cannot do that after 60 years of Independence, something is seriously wrong with all of us as a people. We ought to be ashamed of ourselves.–Din Merican

“The lady’s not for turning” was the statement made famous by Margaret Thatcher, then British Prime Minister in 1980 when she stood her ground against the men in her party. Although we do not agree with her policies, this turn of phrase shows that she was a woman with a mind of her own… and she was not about to be any man’s “interim whatever”!

It is this principle that needs to be seen to be rigorously upheld if women’s political participation is to be taken seriously and given the equal respect it deserves, by both the opposition party leaders and their supporters.

Kua Kia Soong is adviser to Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram).

9 thoughts on “PKR show some Respect –Women can be Leaders not Seat Warmers

  1. I do not understand why everyone wants to keep the seat warm for Anwar Ibrahim, or like to depend on Dr. Mahathir to lead the charge to remove Najib from his seat of power. The Opposition like UMNO-BN has no credibility to govern. Maybe Tok Cik and orang Malaya and other can explain.–Din Merican

  2. It’s the Melayuness, polite beyond reason and ‘Bagi jalan’ or give way to a leader. It’s a double edge sword, good if the leader is upright and have interest of the citizens at heart but not good if you have a leader like Jibby where the followers are led like rats by the Pied Piper to their death.

  3. This insistence on Anwar seems to be akin to Anal fixation suffered by many who have difficulty facing Reality. The suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder, brought about by manufactured nightmares. Unless they move on, Anwar becomes a fable – like Cinderella. No, not Mandela.

    I wonder whether the Dysfunctionality of UMNOb is contagious, or that the Oppo truly lacks imagination and proactive talent or abilities. Lembek as in mush.

  4. Successful progressive political movements need the following:

    1. A charismatic leader
    2. A capable deputy leader to take care of the organisational aspects
    3. Capable organisers/cadres willing to undergo significant personal sacrifice
    4. An ideology or vision for the future that inspires the masses
    5. An alliance between the middle class and the working and lower classes
    6. Support from the intellectuals who can help to articulate (4) above

    Malaysia is such a divided society (ethnic, religious, language, East Malaysia-West Malaysia, conservative Muslim female-liberal Muslim female) that, realistically, we need – for the moment – a charismatic progressive Malay-Muslim leader for the progressive movement. Where are the Malay-Muslim leaders who can fill Anwar Ibrahim’s shoes ?

    There is something to the Great Man Theory of History (although my view is that socio-economic forces are stronger). Without Mandela, there would have been a less peaceful transition to majority rule in South Africa; without Nyerere, there would not be the harmonious – in terms of ethnic relations – Tanzania of today; without Rafael Correa, Ecuador would not be making leaps and bounds in terms of socio-economic progress; same with Lee Kuan Yew and Singapore (with his very capable deputy Goh Keng Swee); same with Lee Teng-hui and Taiwan;

    This is why the DAP must place more emphasis on ideology and the proud history and achievements of Social Democracy in Northern and Western Europe, to achieve (3) and (4) above. Otherwise, it will just be a political party that does not much more than focus on the grievances of
    Chinese-Malaysians under a semi-apartheid system. DAP must take a deeper look at successful examples such as Sweden (dynamic high tech economy, in a population of less than 10 million. They even build their own jet fighters), Finland (majority rule with significant minority rights for the Swedish-speaking Finns of the Aland islands), Norway (manages its sovereign oil wealth fund well)

  5. Man, man embraces women, seldom learns from his experience or that of others and never profits from it. We are all born to repeat our mistakes. That is why the environment is so important. The party constitution should not allow for “seat warmers”.

  6. Dato’ Din, this is a good Topic ” Respect to Women ” – I am persuaded to say something , which if you think is not appropriate , please do the delete button.

    IT HAS GONE VIRAL on the social media , chiefly through Mobile fones few days now.

    IT SHOWS (whether authentic or not , can’t verify ) , the BELOVED QUEEN OF ENGLAND, QUEEN ELIZABETH , with full scarves on , had entered into the London Mosque , because the Beloved Queen seems to say that she had been ‘enchanted ‘ , or that the Hymms and recitation from the holy Koran by the mass congregation , had overwhelmed the noble Queen ( sounds like for a long time in her psyche….or something ) – so its pleasing to her Majesty……

    But our local Media has been conspicuously silent on this. –

    BUT yes, the Noble Prophet had this Revelation : ‘ HEAVEN LIES AT THE FEET OF MOTHERS…… etc ” – the implications of this particular revelation is to say the least astounding……

    Best wishes for the New Year.

  7. BTW – this on-going marathon Episode of ” RAZIA SULTAN ” on TV 3 , concerning the father , Sultan Iltummish , in the ancient Empire of Delhi , is not only marvelous…….but Sublime …… ( the difficulty to grasp or even to rationalize or understand , re some of the scenes as if depicting ‘ magic ‘ , but to me , its not about magic, but ABOUT ” MUQHJIZAT ” , as Vouchsafed from the hidden Hand Abobe ….
    ( Not easy for non- Muslims to ‘ decipher ‘ this phenomena ) ……

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