In conjunction with International Women’s Day today, Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia (JOAS) calls for equitable representation of Orang Asal women in politics.
“In most indigenous communities, it is the women who serve as primary caregivers to children, elderly family members and the sick. It is the women who are the holders and teachers of the traditional knowledge passed down through generations. It is indigenous women who are the main food producers and managers of their natural resources and it is the women who have the knowledge to strengthen their community’s resilience to the devastating efects of climate change,” explains Joan Carling, Secretary General of Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP).
“Unfortunately, despite the pivotal role of indigenous or Orang Asal women within their community, they are under represented in politics in Malaysia,” stressed Anne Lasimbang, PACOS Trust Executive Director and AIPP Regional Women representative.
Right afer Malaysia’s 13th General Elections, Malaysia was ranked second lowest for women’s representation in parliament in South East Asia at 10.81%, right above Myanmar.
“We support the call from various sectors for 30% women representation in parliament, and we challenge ourselves, indigenous grassroots organizations, and we challenge existing political parties to ensure the representation of indigenous women within that 30%, not just in parliament, but also within our state legislative assembly and our local councils ” Lasimbang added.
The call for Orang Asal women representation echoes AIPP’s statement which called on States, civil society and indigenous communities to implement 7 recommendations including the securing of full and efective participation, as well as equitable representation of indigenous women in decision-making bodies and processes that affect their rights as indigenous peoples and as women.