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Selangor Menteri Besar controversy: Important gender issue

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If Dr Wan Azizah is not appointed Menteri Besar of Selangor, it would be a terrible injustice to an able and noble woman, says Tota.

wan azizah

I am not interested in the political circus being played out in Selangor over the appointment of the Menteri Besar. But I am very, very concerned about the gender issue that has cropped up with regard to the candidacy of Dr Wan Azizah, the president of PKR, for the post of Menteri Besar of Selangor.

Many forces – defeated, discredited, disgraced and discarded politicians, misogynists, the corrupt, parasites with power and those living in sin – have all had their two-cent worth of say as to why Wan Azizah should not be appointed MB.

Let us examine the reasons advanced for her “disqualification”. The Umno legal adviser said that a woman should not be appointed MB because her menstrual cycle every month would make her indisposed to accompany the dear Sultan on official duties. What a stupid reason! Currently, there are more than a dozen women presidents or prime ministers all over the world. These are secular democracies, modern and progressive, which grant equal rights to women, unlike ours which many believe is a failed state.

The claim that Wan Azizah would be a remote-controlled MB is equally stupid. When Mukhriz leap-frogged over many senior Umno members and became MB, the question of a remote-controlled MB never became an issue. Well, when Mukhriz became Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry although he came out third, after Khairy and Toyo, in the Umno Youth elections, no one said that that appointment was possible because Najib was a remote-controlled PM.

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The claim that Dr Wan Azizah does not have the capability to become MB and lead the state is despicable. She was the first Malaysian to win a gold medal in Obstetetrics and Gynecology from the prestigious Dublin College of Surgeons. Then she graduated as an opthalmologist. Since 2000, when Anwar was imprisoned, she has been PKR president. She led the party successfully in the 12th and 13th general elections. What further proof of her leadership qualities is required?

Those who predict that Dr Wan Azizah would not be a capable leader remind me of the two bomohs, armed with their coconuts and bamboo binoculars, who ‘foresaw the future’ and predicted that MH370 would land at KLIA in a few days. Wasn’t it the Selangor palace that appointed Harun Idris as MB even though his questionable role in the May 13 tragedy was apparent. He later ended up in prison for corruption. Wasn’t it the Selangor palace that appointed Khir Toyo, who is facing corruption charges? Why would Wan Azizah not be far superior to such elements?

We are often told that we practise Westminister-style democracy. Utter nonsense, I say. In the 1956 Suez Crisis, a badly mauled British prime minister, Anthony Eden, Churchill’s son-in-law, resigned as premier. His deputy was Butler, an academician. The next day, the newspapers’ caption was “Butler for PM”.

Queen Elizabeth played her constitutional monarchy’s role well. Her sole criterion for calling on someone from the Conservative party to form the government was whether he commanded majority support in parliament. After consultation with Conservative leaders, she invited Macmillan to form the government. Queen Elizabeth never commented about the candidate’s ability and talent and never pretended to look into the future and indulge in prophecy.

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This is the 21st century, and evil forces that abuse and misuse their powers to deny women their rights and their rightful place in society must be condemned. The Umno-dominated Alliance/BN has been in power since 1957 – 57 long, long years and despite pronouncements, promises and platitudes, the target of 30 per cent women in top posts in both the public and private sectors remains unachieved and unachievable.

Unless women wake up and empower themselves and defeat the forces that wilfully hinder their progress and achievement of their objectives, their position in malaysian society will remain as it is.

Let us look at the current position of women in the country. Data from the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry shows that in 2013 women made up 13.1 per cent of cabinet ministers and deputy ministers. Only in Pakatan Rakayt-controlled states have a woman speaker and a woman mayor been appointed – something that BN never permitted.

Dear Malaysian Malay, Chinese, Indian, Kadazan, Iban, Dayak etc. sisters, you should rightfully feel the outrage at what the male chauvinists are doing to a fine woman leader, Wan Azizah. More than 50 per cent of the voters are women. You have tremendous political power and clout.

Wanita Umno, MCA and MIC are self-serving. Just look at Rafidah and Shahrizat and their families. Their wealth and that of their family members. Their lifestyle – the palaces they live in, the cars they drive, the designer clothes they wear, their children studying overseas and their overseas holidays – speaks of betrayal of the women they are supposed to fight for. The next time they come to your doorsteps to get your vote, just tell them to get lost.

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Mao Tse Tung said that women hold up half the sky. The Women’s Lib urged women to stop rocking the cradle and start rocking the boat. Shakespeare said that “whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad” – something we are witnessing in Selangor. Dear women, you can be the agents to “destroy” the agents of evil.

If Dr Wan Azizah is not appointed MB, Selangor, it would be a terrible injustice to an able and noble woman.

Tota is the pseudonym of a regular contributor to our Thinking Allowed Online column

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