DAP Wanita Urges PM To Appoint A Woman To Be The Speaker Of Dewan Rakyat 

Press Statement
by  Teresa Kok

(Ipoh,  Wednesday): I have written a letter on behalf of DAP Women¡¦s Section (DAP Wanita) to the Prime Minister YAB Dato Seri Abdullah Badawi today on the appointment of the Speaker of Dewan Rakyat. DAP Wanita has suggested to the Prime Minister and Cabinet to seriously consider to appoint a good calibered and experienced woman to be the Speaker of Dewan Rakyat as a step to renew the image of Malaysian Parliament.  

Appointment of woman as the Speaker of the Parliament has been practiced in many countries in the world, such as United Kingdom, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa and Scandinavian nations.


Should Malaysia appoint a woman to be Speaker of Parliament, we will be the first country in ASEAN region that has a woman to be Speaker of Parliament. This will not only enhance the status of women in our society, but it will also elevate the image of Malaysian Parliament in the international community.


Besides, we also believe that the appointment of a woman to be the Speaker of Dewan Rakyat will reduce the verbal sexual harassment cases of male MPs towards women MPs in the Dewan Rakyat, but it will also help to reduce the temperature of quarrels and tensions amongst MPs of different parties during the heated debates in Parliament.


As the women¡¦s section of the DAP which has three MPs in the Dewan Rakyat, we are of the opinion that the Speaker should be appointed from persons not only with a good reputation, but that he/she must be someone who will bring reforms and renewal in the Parliament, particularly the Dewan Rakyat.


The image of Malaysian Parliament as the highest institution of legislation in the country has been deteriorated in the eyes of the public. It has been seen as a ¡§rubber stamp¡¨ that passes all sorts of laws and policies that are proposed by the Executive Section without serious debate. The low image of the Parliament has resulted in many MPs, Cabinet ministers and even some civil servants not respecting the Parliament, and this attitude has further enhanced the stigma that Parliament as ¡§rubber stamp¡¨ in our society.


We as elected representatives are extremely relieved and impressed by the statement made by the Prime Minister to revive the image and integrity of Parliament Malaysia. We the DAP Wanita are of the view that the future Speaker of Dewan Rakyat must be someone who not only has experience in the Dewan Rakyat or understand the function of the Dewan Rakyat, but he/she must also be a person who is held in high esteem by the Malaysian society and the international community.


Thus, we support the opinion of the Opposition Leader of the Parliament that the government should consult the opposition parties on the selection of Speaker, so that the future Speaker in the highest body of legislation can be chosen through the process of consultation amongst the elected representatives of different political parties. 


It is on this note that the DAP Wanita have written to the Prime Minister to express our views on the selection of future Speaker of Dewan Rakyat. We hope that our suggestions on the selection of Speaker to the Prime Minister will be taken seriously by him and the cabinet, as a step forward to bring reform in the Malaysian Parliament.   


* Teresa Kok, MP For Seputeh And National Secretary Of DAP Women Section