A Look At Some Of Malaysia’s Female Parliamentarians and Potential Cabinet Members

Clockwise from left: YB Nurul Izzah, YB Hannah Yeoh and YB Maria Chin Abdullah, MPs for Permatang Pauh, Segambut and Petaling Jaya respectively. Image source: YMI Today/Southeast Asia Globe/HAKAM

Now that the whirlwind that was GE14 has come and gone and Malaysia has voted, Malaysians are left with the task of rebuilding their country with their newly-elected government. With the dust settled, Malaysians are keen to see how the new cabinet will be formed – and whether that cabinet will ensure at least 30% women’s representation. A cabinet with at least 30% of positions being held by women would be another historical moment for Malaysia, where women have been previously under-represented in top government positions. A petition has been started online to get the Prime Minister to consider this demand, signed by various women’s rights advocates and activists.  Read the full petition here.

There are more than enough qualified female candidates from which Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir can choose to make up 30% of his cabinet – here is a quick look at some of Malaysia’s female parliamentarians and potential future cabinet ministers.

Nurul Izzah Anwar (Permatang Pauh, PKR)

Image source: Oslo Freedom Forum

  • Daughter to Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, the first female DPM in Malaysian history.
  • Third-term parliamentarian, and vice president of PKR (People’s Justice Party)
  • Even before becoming an MP, Nurul Izzah has been outspoken in her support for human and civil rights, as well as freedom of assembly and expression.
  • Holds a bachelors’ in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, and received a Masters’ in International Relations from Johns Hopkins University.

Teresa Kok (Seputeh, DAP)

  • Fifth-term parliamentarian, DAP deputy secretary-general and former Parliamentary Select Committee member.
  • Teresa champions law reforms to uphold human rights in Malaysia.
  • She holds a Bachelors’ in Communications and Political Science from University Sains Malaysia (USM), a degree  in Political Science from the University of Malaya, and a master of philosophy.

Hannah Yeoh (Segambut, DAP)

Image source: YMI

  • Became Malaysia’s youngest speaker, and first female speaker in a state parliament in 2013 at the age of 34.
  • Two-term member of the Selangor state assembly, first-term parliamentarian and vice chairperson of DAP’s women’s wing.
  • Her purpose as a politician is to end corruption and racism in Malaysia.
  • She has a degree in law from the University of Tasmania.

Zuraida Kamaruddin (Ampang, PKR)

  • Third-term parliamentarian, and chairperson of Selangor’s Institute Wanita Berdaya
  • A champion of women’s rights who actively works to increase women’s political representation.
  • She has a Bachelor’s degree in Social Science from the University of Singapore.

Maria Chin Abdullah (Petaling Jaya, Independent)

YB Maria Chin Abdullah with her sons. Image source: South China Morning Post

  • Former chairwoman and founder of the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections 2.0 (Bersih 2.0).
  • First-term parliamentarian.
  • Some of Maria’s long term goals as an MP are to work towards increasing wage levels, creating a conducive environment for the young, and institutional reforms that will curb corruption.
  • She holds a Bachelors’ in Applied Economics and a Masters’ in Urban Planning from the University of London.

Fuziah Salleh (Kuantan, PKR)

  • Second-term parliamentarian and PKR central executive committee member.
  • Known for her commitment to issues of environmental protection.
  • Received a Bachelors’ degree in Counselling Psychology, and Masters’ in Business Administration from the University of Wales.

Yeo Bee Yin (Bakri, DAP)

Image source: The Star

  • A former Selangor state assembly representative, and first-term parliamentarian.
  • She is committed to issues of poverty alleviation, youth and education as well as the political participation of young people.
  • She received a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering and Masters’ in Advanced Chemical Engineering from Cambridge University.

Alice Lau (Lanang, DAP)

  • A second-term parliamentarian, and first woman to be fielded by the opposition in Sarawak.
  • She maintains a commitment to issues concerning indigenous people’s rights, poverty alleviation, rural development and education.

Isnaraissah Munirah Majilis (Kota Belud, Warisan) 

  • Parti Warisan Sabah’s Wirawati chief, and first-term parliamentarian.
  • She is focused on issues such as environmental protection, young women’s human rights, and rural development.
  • She received a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from the University of Malaysia Sabah.

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Here’s to more female representation in every level of government, and to a more inclusive Malaysia!

About Sunita Soh

Hello! I’m Sunita, a proud “dan lain-lain” Malaysian with a passion for feminism and really good char kuey teow. When I’m not rescuing cats or making endless playlists on Spotify, you can find me with my nose buried in a book or glued to my laptop watching cooking tutorials.

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