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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Cameron’s Conservatives Should Show Caution Before They Suck Up To Najib


London’s most controversial development project has been taken over by the world’s most controversial palm oil producer – Sime Darby
Relations between the UK and Malaysia should naturally be warm.
However, as Prime Minister Najib Razak makes his way towards the UK this week, David Cameron’s welcome party should concentrate on that friendship with the Malaysian people, rather than selfish financial opportunities.
After all, Najib represents a discredited minority government, which everyone knows would have been obliterated at the recent election, were it not for the massive fraud and bribery that has been impossible to conceal.
The British should therefore be supporting the Malaysian people in their struggle to establish genuine democracy, 50 years after elections were first introduced, rather than flagrantly chasing investment from this corrupted regime.
Of course, faced with endless humiliating exposes over BN’s corruption at home and protests on the streets, Najib will treat this foreign trip to the UK as welcome PR.Cameron should not be turning a blind eye to this
Millions of Malaysians have protested over their cheated election, human rights abuses and BN’s grand corruption. The UK should take heed.
But, Cameron should not be turning a blind eye to the situation or begging for BN’s dirty money, which has been grabbed at the expense of ordinary Malaysians.
However, the UK government will be doing the Malaysian people no favours if they bolster and whitewash this tainted figure. And if they do, it will surely come back to haunt their integrity, just like the Pergau Dam arms for aid scandal haunted Margaret Thatcher.
Beware of the influx of black money
Signs are not promising, however.  All we have seen so far has been a tail-wagging enthusiasm from this current British administration, eager to muscle in on any business or investment it can, few questions asked.
Turning a blind eye? Money is pouring out of Malaysia for all the wrong reasons. Is the UK government prepared to welcome it, no questions asked?
The Malaysian ‘opportunity’ has clearly been seen as a top priority in some circles since the coalition’s first day in office.  Given that individuals who were linked with the Pergau Dam scandal all those years ago are linked to this policy now, have those ties lasted across the intervening two decades?
“This is the first time that a British Prime Minister has come to Malaysia in almost 20 years… my message today is very simple: the era of benign neglect is over. Britain is back: back to do business with Malaysia”[David Cameron, in Kuala Lumpur 12/4/2012]
And the High Commissioner has consistently echoed this sentiment, enthusing at the important business opportunities and proudly presiding over endless official visits, including that of Wills and Kate to scandal torn Sabah.
However, as one senior opposition figure bemoaned to Sarawak Report, “when you try to talk to these UK government figures about Malaysia’s human rights issues and corruption, all they want to speak about is opening a new Tesco in KL”.
Tweets 
Britain has made a few noises about BN’s plunging credibility since the May election, but these have definitely been lost in the thunder of commercial interest.
Consider High Commissioner Simon Featherstone’s gushing twitters last week, as he dashed off to London to lay out the red carpet for Najib’s visit.
Cameron so looking forward – but no mention of democracy protests, just business..
Visiting Foreign Office Minister, Hugo Swire betrayed a similar focus in his own Tweets.
Whoopee! Malaysia is the top property owner in the UK.
Swire may have had a “good discussion” on reform, transparency and liberalisation, however it is “full steam ahead” with the Battersea Power Station development spearheaded by the Malaysian Government owned Sime Darby.
Sime Darby is the world’s largest oil palm company thanks to the devastation of the Borneo Jungle in Sarawak and Indonesia and the destruction of Sumatra.
Burning Borneo – Prime suspect, Sime Darby’s investment in Battersea Power Station has shocked environmentalists and climate change campaigners
The company has emerged as one of the prime suspects for the choking smogs that have engulfed the region in the past days, owing to the plague of slash and burning that oil palm has inflicted on the world’s oldest and most precious rain forests.
It has also been mired incorruption issues as it has started similar activities in the Congo. Just last year the company’s CEO was sacked for barely disclosed corruption, involving native customary lands in Sarawak.
These matters clearly are troubling ordinary Malaysians, who turned out in record numbers at this election to try and get rid of the government responsible.
They ought to trouble Her Majesty’s Government as well.
And as Britain presses for a major arms deal for BAe Systems with Malaysia it should also trouble Her Majesty’s Government that BN’s track record in any such deal is that it only interests them if huge kickbacks are made available to senior politicians – as France’s current Scorpene Submarine trial is currently laying bare.
Malaysia’s London property boom
It is also time that UK ministers considered their policy of encouraging BN’s flow of dubious cash into the UK property market.
This is indeed Malaysia’s money, but it is being invested by individuals who have corruptly channelled it away from the public to whom it belongs. The figures on Malaysia’s scandalous ‘capital flight’ are well known.
BN politicians and former politicians have been crowding into London’s top properties and purchasing whole blocks to run as hotels and serviced apartments – how did they get the money?
Should well-heeled Londoners not be ashamed that this dirty money is being invested there rather than back home in Malaysia, where it is sorely needed to provide health, development and education for people who have been kept impoverished by the greed of BN?
Is this is not a consideration for UK ministers who are gleefully applauding the fact that Malaysians are the “top property owners in the UK”?
BN politicians are eager buyers into London’s ‘gated communities’, much disliked for cutting off areas of the once open capital – Najib himself owns a penthouse in this Kensington enclave.
In which case these same UK ministers are barely considering the interests of their own people in this respect.
While some wealthy political donors may have benefitted from selling over-priced London property to stupidly rich Bumiputeras, the effect has been to increase prices in an inflated housing market, which has been pushing the British out of their own capital city.
So as Najib ‘breaks the earth’ in front of rolling cameras at Battersea next week, the vast majority of Malaysians and British people can probably unite in wondering how much this Cameron/ Najib alliance benefits them or their democratic principles?
The matter is on record. - Sarawak Report

LESSONS FOR IGP KHALID: A mom’s love is beyond money

LESSONS FOR IGP KHALID: A mom’s love is beyond money
"Money will never bring back my son." The plaintive words of a mother's anguish, as in the case of Kugan's mother, N. Indra (pix), after winning her case last week against the Inspector General of Police, the government and three other defendants.
Despite being awarded RM851,700 in damages by the High Court last Wednesday, for Indra, 45, her personal loss was far greater.
"I am not happy. It cannot bring back my son. My son is not here," she told theSun in a phone interview after the court decision.
However, Indra said she is happy to have won the case against against the police.
On the award amount, Indra said: "Money is not important. My son is more important."
Kugan, 22, who died in police custody on Jan 20, 2009 was her eldest child.
"I will never get a son like him," she said.
Kugan's two younger siblings are in secondary school.
Indra, a widow, works in a plastic company in Puchong Jaya. She had said after Kugan's death that there were other families in a similar predicament.
Asked what her advice would be to parents facing a similar ordeal, Indra said they should not give up the fight for justice.
In his decision, Justice Datuk V.T.Singham said former Selangor police chief Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar (now Inspector-General of Police), was liable to misconduct in public office.
He also found the police and the government liable for Kugan's death from grievous injuries at the Taipan police station on Jan 20, 2009.
In her RM100 million negligence and breach of statutory duty suit filed on Jan 13, last year, Indra, had named Khalid, former constable V. Navindran, former Subang Jaya police chief ACP Zainal Rashid Abu Bakar (deceased), the Inspector-General of Police and the government as defendants.
Meanwhile, Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said in Ipoh the government and the police would appeal against the High Court Court verdict.
- theSundaily

GE13 issues dominate first week of Parliament

GE13 issues dominate first week of Parliament
The first week of the 13th Parliament went smoothly but the antics of some new and old MPs were among the eye-catching moments throughout week's sitting.
Most of the new MPs did not need long to adapt and they seemed eager to debate a number of issues including the 13th general election (GE13) and the sovereignty of the institution of the monarchy, which were among the topics that dominated and gingered up the Dewan Rakyat.
The first sitting of the First Term of the 13th Parliament began on Monday with the MPs sworn in and the selection of the Dewan Rakyat Speaker and his two deputies.
Although many parties were predicting that a fuss would occur following the opposition's proposal to boycott the swearing-in, this did not happen as all the 89 opposition's MPs took their oaths.
The composition of the Dewan rakyat after GE13 saw the Barisan Nasional (BN) dominating with 133 seats whereas the opposition pact 89 seats, the DAP with 38 seats, PKR (30) and PAS (21).
The first day of the sitting saw Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia re-elected as Dewan Rakyat Speaker while the Beluran MP Datuk Ronald Kiandee and Kuala Krau MP Datuk Ismail Said were elected as the Deputy Speakers.
The selection process however was slightly disturbed when some of the opposition's MPs questioned the method of letter voting that was conducted claiming that there was no confidentially when they were required to signed the given ballot papers.
In fact, the matter later became the opposition's continous subject which linked the process with allegations on the Election Commission (EC), that the commision was not transparent in dealing handling GE13 on May 5.
Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah and Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Hajah Haminah Hamidon also attended the 13th Parliament on Tuesday. Tuanku Abdul Halim presented his Royal Address on various current issues.
Among them, Tuanku Abdul Halim reminded all parties to accept the GE13 results and asked the people to throw out characteristics that could bring disunity and also reminding the MPs to not to take any actions that could lead to the destruction of the country.
The address by the head of the country, however, evoked polemics in the Dewan Rakyat when the reaction of some opposition's MPs, including PKR advisor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim questioning the royal command.
This was because, according to Anwar, the Royal Address could be debated, challenged and opposed in terms of the arguments because the facts were derived from the BN.
The statement was deemed by the government supporters as disrespectful of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, prompting several government MPs including Datuk Shamsul Anuar Nasarah (BN-Lenggong) and Datuk Bung Mohtar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan) to call for a special law to ensure the sovereignty of the monarchy institution would continue to be preserved.
"The institution of monarchy is a pillar that must be respected regardless of one's race, religion or political beliefs, it's an extension of inherited kingship with the concept of constitutional monarchy and through the system it has managed to put the country on a high place," said Shamsul Anuar.
"I call for a Treason Act to be formulated so that action can be taken against those who commit acts of treason against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong... let them be severely punished, including by imprisonment," Bung Moktar urged.
The sitting also heated up with GE13 issues raised by opposition MPs who claimed there was fraud in the handling of the GE13 and that it was the opposition who should have formed the government as they had won the popular vote as well.
Fed up with the claims, BN MPs including Tan Sri Annuar Musa (BN-Ketereh) reminded the opposition pact not to peddle the popular vote story because they competed according to their own party symbol, as compared to BN.
New faces such as Datuk Abdul Aziz Sheikh Fadzir (BN-Kulim-Bandar Baharu) and Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican (BN-Kepala Batas) also voiced out and urged the opposition to accept their defeat and the reality of the GE13 results which gave the mandate to the BN to rule the country.
The invasion of Sulu terrorists in Sabah also attracted the MPs attention when some of the BN and opposition MPs urged the government to reveal the mastermind behind the intrusion which resulted the deaths of 10 members of the security forces.
They felt that by delaying the disclosure, it would continue to arouse suspicion among the public.
Apart from that, this week's sitting saw Anwar reappointed as the opposition leader in the Dewan Rakyat, while Tan Sri Shahrir Samad was chosen as the BN Backbenchers Blub (BNBBC) chairman.
The Johor Baharu MP had led the BNBBC for the 11th Parliament term for two years before resigning in 2006.
- Bernama

Bergabung untuk daftar semula IPF

Datuk M Sambanthan yang mendakwa dirinya sebagai presiden IPF diminta bergabung dengan jawatankuasa parti bagi mendaftarkan semula parti itu dengan ROS.
KUALA LUMPUR:  Parti Barisan Kemajuan India Se-Malaysia (IPF) meminta Datuk M. Sambanthan yang mendakwa dirinya sebagai presiden parti itu supaya bergabung dengan jawatankuasa parti sedia ada bagi mendaftarkan semula parti itu dengan Pendaftar Pertubuhan (ROS).
Presiden IPF M. V. Mathiyalagan berkata pihaknya telah menerima surat daripada ROS pada 6 Jun lalu yang menyatakan wujudnya dua barisan pemegang jawatan, dua pejabat urusan dan dua orang yang mendakwa dirinya sebagai presiden parti dan pada masa sama mengemukakan dokumen parti kepada ROS.
Katanya ROS memberi tempoh sebulan kepada mereka untuk mengadakan perbincangan dengan anggota parti bagi menyelesaikan kemelut kepimpinan dan mematuhi notis ROS atau IPF akan terbubar secara automatik.
“Kami telah mengemukakan dokumen lengkap bagi pendaftaran semula parti daripada ibu pejabat kami di Jalan Ipoh, tetapi pada masa yang sama ibu pejabat pihak Sambanthan dari Serdang juga melakukan perkara yang sama.
“Justeru, ROS tidak boleh mengiktiraf parti kami sebagai sebuah parti yang sah kerana percanggahan itu,” katanya kepada Bernama selepas mempengerusikan mesyuarat anggota parti di Wisma Tun Sambanthan di sini hari ini.
Kemelut IPF
Kemelut IPF bermula pada 2008 sejak kematian pengasas Tan Sri M. G. Pandithan yang menyebabkan parti itu terbahagi dua kumpulan di antara penyokong isteri mendiang Jayshree MG Pandithan dan  Mathiyalagan.
Masalah semakin meruncing apabila Jayshree yang memangku jawatan presiden parti pada 2010 mengiktiraf Sambanthan sebagai presiden walaupun mesyuarat agung memilih Mathiyalagan.
Mathiyalagan berkata pihaknya telah menjemput pihak Sambanthan untuk mengadakan perbincangan untuk bergabung sebanyak dua kali selepas menerima surat daripada ROS.
“Kami telah menghantar dua jemputan untuk mengadakan perbincangan tetapi malangnya beliau bukan sahaja tidak memberi respons, sebaliknya menghantar surat jemputan kepada kami menjadi anggota parti itu dengan mengemukakan yuran tahunan sebanyak RM 3.
“Dalam surat jemputan itu juga mereka tidak menawarkan sebarang jawatan tinggi kepada kami dan hanya menawarkan keanggotaan biasa sahaja,” katanya.
Tidak mahu menerima jemputan
Mathiyalagan berkata pihaknya tidak mahu menerima jemputan itu yang dianggap sebagai tidak adil malah, ROS masih belum mengiktiraf parti IPF sebagai parti yang sah.
Beliau turut berharap ROS dapat melanjutkan tempoh kepada enam bulan untuk menyelesaikan masalah itu sebelum mesyuarat perwakilan parti dan pemilihan semula diadakan yang dijangka pada Januari depan.
Mathiyalagan yang merupakan pejuang parti itu selama 25 tahun juga berkata jawatankuasa di bawah pimpinannya terdiri daripada 10 anggota jawatankuasa tertinggi dan mempunyai 150,000 anggota di 1,000 cawangan seluruh negara berbanding Sambanthan mempunyai lima anggota jawatankuasa tertinggi, 80,000 anggota dan 360 cawangan di seluruh negara.
Mathiyalagan turut meminta Sambanthan berhenti menggunakan identiti sebagai presiden parti ketika memberi kenyataan kepada umum selagi parti itu belum disahkan oleh ROS.
Katanya pihaknya akan menghantar memorandum berhubung penggabungan itu kepada Perdana Menteri yang juga Pengerusi Barisan Nasional (BN) Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak dan barisan kepimpinan tertinggi BN dalam masa terdekat.
-Bernama

How did EC spend RM400m?

DAP’s Anthony Loke asks why GE13 cost twice the amount spent on GE12.
KUALA LUMPUR: The RM400 million the Election Commission (EC) used up for the 13th general election was twice the amount it spent for the 2008 polls, and this has raised questions about where the money went to.
“The cost to manage the 12th general election was only RM200 million. Why is it that in five years, the expenditure for the election has ballooned by 100% even though the number of voters increased only by 20%?” Seremban MP Anthony Loke asked during a press conference at the parliament lobby today.
He said this meant the average cost of managing a parliamentary constituency was RM1.8 million during this year’s election.
“This is a huge figure seeing as the spending limit for a candidate contesting a parliamentary seat is only RM200,000,” said the DAP man. “I myself spent less than RM100,000 in both elections and managed to win both times.”
He said the EC channeled most of the money into nomination day and polling day, and questioned whether RM1.8 million was needed to handle those two days.
He pointed out that the EC spent about RM318,000 to RM1.29 million for each parliamentary seat.
“Why is there such a huge difference in cost? If the cost to manage the Permatang Pauh by-election in 2008 was only RM409,000, what is the EC’s justification for spending an average of RM1.8 million for one parliamentary constituency in 2013?”
He said it was unacceptable for the EC to justify the additional expenditure by citing the need for extra clerks to handle the indelible as the figures just did not add up.
And while he conceded that certain parliamentary constituencies would require extra cost due to the use of helicopters, he said those areas were few and far between.
Be accountable’
He reminded the EC that every sen it used on the elections, including the millions spent on the “disappearing indelible ink”, came from taxpayer’s pockets.
“The EC cannot hide expenditures [from the public], nor can it continue to splurge without any accountability.”.
He urged the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and the Auditor-General to form a special committee to probe and audit the money the EC spent on the general election.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Shahidah Kassim said last Thursday that the RM400 million went to overtime allowances (RM5.081 million); transportation rental costs, electoral rolls, ICT equipment, rental costs for telephone, fax and others (RM 98,465 million); service charges and souvenirs for election officers (RM204.1 million); and “other expenditure” (RM 92.354 million).

Why Ivy League and Oxbridge graduates do not crowd around the PM and the ministers

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Elmb7q4RLQc/UXcg2lLIbiI/AAAAAAAAA_o/gC11q_ov5y0/s1600/permata.jpg 
The Melayu with Ivy League degrees and education are so small in numbers; and most of them are not functioning fully; because they know if they try to be too smart, they will end up stepping on the toes and feet of their superiors, who have eaten more ‘salt’ then them.

Mansor Puteh

Permata Pintar was established in order to encourage young Malaysians to study hard so they could end up being admitted into any of the ten Ivy League and Oxbridge universities in America and Britain, respectively. But can they be sure of this happening?

The Melayu leaders were mighty proud when Safiah got admitted into Oxford University at the age of thirteen to study mathematics.

The British press too gave her wide coverage.

They marveled at her achievement, despite her being British with her mother a Melayu from Malaysia.

Yet, none of the Melayu leaders or their wives, had ever bothered to ask themselves what they could do with Safiah, if they could offer her a scholarship that could compel her to come to Malaysia to work.

They did not know what to do with her.

In fact, even Britain did not know what to do with her, and for that matter Oxford also did not know what else they could do with her other than to offer her a place to study there.

And the so-called Oxford Center of Islamic Studies of OCIS also did not care.

So what was the point for Oxford to offer her a place to study there and for the British press to give her wide coverage, and the creation of OCIS?

The Melayu in Malaysia had not even bothered to invite her to come to Kuala Lumpur to appear in forums.

The Umno and Melayu leaders went to England but did not meet her because they had come with the wrong intention, of getting publicity for themselves and not to offer her a scholarship or post upon graduation from Oxford, so she could pursue her master’s degree and doctorate elsewhere perhaps in Oxford or Harvard.

So in the end, Safiah faltered and disappeared after dropping out of Oxford, in an almost dramatic way, feeding some news in the media in England for a while for doing something which shocked many in Malaysia.

Only then Umno leaders sprang to their feet to try and persuade her.

But no one knows what Umno and the Melayu leaders wanted her for.

They did not offer her any post in any government ministry or agency or at the university, so they could not create a Safiah that would suit the needs of the Malaysian government.

Yet, at the same time Permata Pintar was established; and so far they have got some hundreds of young students to study together.

Didn’t they know geniuses do not crowd in the same classroom; they are on their own most of the time.

Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, George Lucas, Albert Einstein and the other geniuses of recent times did not know each other; they went on their own trek into the unknown to bring back goodies for which the world now benefits from.

If they were discovered early in their lives and flocked together in a classroom, chances are they would burn out, after being forced to perform before visiting dignitaries to please those who had brought them together.

And by the time they are older, chances are no Ivy League or Oxbridge university would ever want to accept them.

This will happen to the children in the Permata Pintar program.

And this is also the sad state of the Ivy Leaguers and Oxonians of Malaysia; none of whom are accepted with open arms by the government, so much so they do not crowd the Prime Minister’s Department and all the ministries and government agencies.

In fact, Mara and JPA which offer scholarships and study loans to deserving Melayu students cannot be proud to have sent many of them to the ten universities.

The problem is that the Prime Minister’s Department and all the ministries and agencies do not want to send any of their own staff to study in the ten most prestigious universities in the world, simply because they do not smart-asses in their midst.

The problem would happen if they choose some to study there, when they themselves had not bothered to study in these universities earlier when they were younger and were able to get the opportunity to do so.

So no wonder those who have studied in those universities on their own cannot and can never be accepted by the Malaysian government, despite them saying that Malaysians and especially the Melayu should strive to study hard and get into those universities.

Why is the Prime Minister’s Department not crowded by those with impressive Ivy League and Oxbridge degrees of all specialization?

It is not difficult for the prime minister to insist on getting those with degrees from these universities and the other prestigious ones, if he himself believes in the value of education.

The Melayu with Ivy League degrees and education are so small in numbers; and most of them are not functioning fully; because they know if they try to be too smart, they will end up stepping on the toes and feet of their superiors, who have eaten more ‘salt’ then them.

And in Malaysia, the amount of ‘salt’ a person has eaten is more important than the level of education that he has.

So no wonder the logic and insistence on Malaysians to have Ivy League and Oxbridge education and backgrounds uttered by those in high office, can therefore be taken with a grain of salt.

It is too difficult too for anyone to ask the prime minister and the ministers just how many officers who crowd around them who have impressive academic backgrounds with education at any of the ten most prestigious universities in the world?

The answer is obvious; there is none in most of the ministries and government agencies.

And how many Melayu who had got admission into any of the Ivy League and Oxbridge universities that Mara had found expedient to reject his or her application for scholarship or study loan? 
Even the so-called ‘education sections’ of the local English language newspapers do not have a special spot for those with Ivy League and Oxbridge backgrounds; they only write on petty matters and issues concerning education and in general terms. 

What women really want to vote for

FZGRAPHICS
KUALA LUMPUR (July 1): There is an emerging class-gender dynamic appearing in voting behaviours of the Malaysian electorate as seen in the recent 13th general election, political analyst Bridget Welsh said.
 
According to Welsh's research, there was still a persistent gender gap in voting patterns but what's becoming more evident are social cleavages that are adding different dynamics to observable gender differences in voting behaviour.
 
Some social cleavages that Welsh described were class, ethnicity, age, regional variation and marital status.
 
"You can't just talk about women as one group. You have to recognise the social cleavages within that. There is a class-gender gap that is emerging in the election results," Welsh said at a recent forum on the role and participation of women in politics.
 
Welsh, who lectures political science at the Singapore Management University, said that women voters generally tended to favour the Barisan Nasional.
 
This was especially true amongst Malay, Indian and East Malaysian women but not Chinese women.
 
Welsh also observed a narrowing of the gender gap within upper class and middle class Malays but a widening of gender differences within Malays of lower income groups.
 
Crucially, the class-gender gap is likely a reflection of the election campaign that happened, Welsh said.
 
The general election campaign saw various cash handouts deployed, the fear factor, the opposition's inability to reach out to some rural areas and political messaging that did not seem to connect with women voters.
 
Welsh stressed that women voters made a difference in the final outcome of the recent May 5 general election.
 
This is because women, who make up slightly over half of the total electorate, tend to have higher turnout rates than male voters.
 
There are about 6.66 million women who registered to vote, according to Election Commission data. This means that women form 50.23% of the total 13.26 million electorate.
 
States with the highest proportion of female voters include Kedah, Perlis and Penang.
 
Women vote more but participate less
 
According to Welsh, there are also significant gender differences in terms of political participation.
 
Women tend to participate in politics less even if they are more likely to vote than men.
 
"Women participate less, they feel like they can effect less change, they are not as involved as local problems.
 
"Political parties are no longer engaging women in the same degree as in the past," said Welsh.
 
However, Welsh's research found that women's participation in politics depends on the networks that they are in and the type of social capital they have.
 
As an example, Welsh noted that women who use the Internet more were found to be more likely to vote and participate in politics.
 
PKR Wanita chief Zuraida Kamaruddin, who also spoke at the event, said that most women still feel reluctant to take part in politics.
 
"Like it or not, politics is still a game for the men. I have urged women to go into mainstream politics and head political party divisions. That is where the power is.
 
"We are looking for more women to come and join politics but they say no, no it is not for me.
 
"So we position politics as something to take care of the welfare of the people and to serve, not something for position, power and wealth," said Zuraida.
 
The Ampang MP said there were also hurdles when it comes to fielding women candidates during elections.
 
As an example, Zuraida said PKR had earlier identified 48 women candidates to contest in the 13th general election. But only 28 women candidates were fielded after some had to make way amid seat negotiations between aligned political parties.
 
"When it comes to suggesting women candidates, the men will ask what is her qualification to be the candidate. This is not asked when it is a male candidate," said Zuraida.
 
In a similar vein, former Wanita Umno deputy chief Datuk Kamilia Ibrahim pointed out that the structure of political parties does not encourage women to participate because the environment is still largely male-dominated.
 
"In parliament, only 10.4% of representatives are women. This is low considering the fact that women make up 49% of the population and 46% of the work force.
 
"So it is a good question. Where are the women?" asked Kamilia, who recently resigned from Umno after she was not fielded to contest the general election.
 
She stood as an independent in the Kuala Kangsar parliamentary seat but eventually lost. Kamilia, who has been active in politics for three decades, said Malay women in rural areas are very interested and active in politics but are merely relegated to being foot soliders during elections.
 
Kamilia argued that women should be aiming to contest and win parliamentary seats because that is where laws are made and policies are checked.
 
"Women should have a bigger say, including in the national budget. If half of the MPs are women, can you imagine what you can do?" said Kamilia.