INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY MESSAGE
BY CHIEF MINISTER OF PENANG AND DAP SECRETARY-GENERAL LIM GUAN ENG
KOMTAR, GEORGE TOWN ON 8.3.2018
Penang recognizes the achievements of women on social economic and governance matters. The Penang State Government set up the Penang Women’s Development Corporation (PWDC) in November 2011 to transform Penang into a progressive society that promotes gender equality and opportunity. This is shown by the appointment of the first female City Mayor and Council Presidents in Peninsular Malaysia. Amongst the female civil servants appointed by Penang State Government is Datuk Maimunah Mohd Sharif, the most outstanding female civil servant in the country.
Datuk Maimunah, the former Penang Island City Council (MBPP) mayor, was headhunted and she is now the executive director of the United Nations’ Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), based in Nairobo, Kenya. This achievement makes her the first woman from Asia to hold the position and the highest ranking Malaysian holding a UN post in Malaysian history.
When girls and women are empowered, entire societies reform. Thus, if you empower a man, you empower an individual but if you empower a woman, you empower a family.
Since 2008, the Penang State Government has set up free mammogram examinations for women age 35 and above at a cost of over RM2 million. The Penang State Government is also providing RM300 yearly to pay for outpatient clinic fees and medicines, capped at RM50 per visit for households earning a monthly income of less than RM5,000. Single individuals with income less than RM2,500 will also get RM150 credit a year, similarly capped at RM50 per visit.
Starting with 2018, all working mothers up to 60 years with children between newborn to 6 years old will be paid a cash incentive of RM300 yearly. The Penang State Government will be paying RM15 million a year in 2018 to accommodate this as there are about 50,000 households in Penang with at least one young child. This would serve to encourage more working mothers.
To be a developed economy, the female labour participation rate must exceed 60%. The current female labour participation rate in Penang is 59% whilst it is 54% in Malaysia. The Pakatan Harapan led Penang State Government is committed to increase the participation rate to above 60%. The Penang State Government also contributes RM100 yearly to all Single Mothers and homemakers who do not work.
DAP is also proud to announce that its Central Executive Committee will include a minimum 30% quota for women, hence, reaffirming Pakatan Harapan’s commitment terms of promoting and encouraging women to hold the reigns of leadership. It is time that gender be no longer an obstacle to the ability of one to realise not only her potential and make her dreams come true but also help towards nation-building. Thank you.