The number of women in local councils is low, at less than 15 per cent, halfway to the government’s target of 30 per cent women’s participation at the decision-making level.
This was revealed by the prime minister’s wife, Rosmah Mansor, in her opening speech at a seminar organised by the Women Council Members Association of Malaysia yesterday.
This notwithstanding, Rosmah said that women have contributed significantly to the country’s urban development programme. She said, “What is important is the quality of your contributions. With your knowledge, experience, skills and creativity, you will become a catalyst for change in achieving continuous excellence.”
Rosmah advised women council members to be sensitive to current issues, and to strive continuously for knowledge in the related fields, to be friendly to the people and to contribute ideas. She said, “By doing this, they can contribute significantly and not just complement the composition of a local council.”
In her opening, Rosmah expressed that rapid urbanisation called for a shift in the role of the local authorities, making them urban managers and service providers. Local authorities should provide quality early education facilities to children, especially to those coming from low-income families. She believed that self-empowerment at an early age would help in urban poverty eradication.
At the event, Rosmah witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the association and the Housing and Local Government Ministry to collaborate in activities such as recycling programmes, visitations and seminars.
Present at the event were the association’s president, Datuk Azizah Mohd Dun and Deputy Secretary-General (Policy and Development) of the Housing and Local Government Ministry, Datuk Yeo Heng Hau. The association was represented by its secretary-general, Lele Suzana Kudari.