The Kuala Lumpur Chinese Assembly Hall Women Section (KLCAHWS) had condemned Johor state exco Datuk Tee Siew Kiong for his recent call to Kulai parliamentary member Teo Nie Ching to quit if she does not have the time to care for her children.
KLCAHWS chairperson Ng Geok Chee expressed her astonishment over such inappropriate remark and condemn Tee's failure to recognise the female's rights to participate in politics and public domain.
The Women Section also urge the government to take the lead in setting up child-care services to encourage the private sector to follow suit.
"This would improve gender equality within the various sectors and increase women's employment opportunities,"she said in a statement Apr 15.
She said the Section is of the opinion that the government should acknowledge the women's right to participate in politics and economy development.
"However, it is regrettable to note that the participation of women, whether in the political or economic arena, is relatively low compared to other region in South East Asia," she said.
For example she said women make up only 48 percent of the employment rate in Malaysia, compared to 53 percent in Indonesia and 62 percent in Singapore.
The participation of women in politics is also insignificant, she said pointing out that out of 222 elected parliamentarian, only 10 percent are female.
In Johor state assembly she pointed out that there are only 14 percent women state legislators, and only one female representative out of the 14 state executive council members.
"Paradoxically, as a state executive counsel member, Tee did not see the need to propose advancement, but ridicule instead Teo," she said.
She said such a conduct reflect the shortsightedness of him and further evident that he did not attach any importance to women related issues.
"He also failed to understand the actual problem and to formulate solution to overcome the same," she said.
She said it is ironic to note that in the recent 505 general election, Barisan National's manifesto had acknowledged women's role in nation building and pledge to increase women's participation in national policy decision-making.
"By making such a contradictory statement, Tee is actually telling BN to eat its own words," she said.
Ng said "we are living in a modern world and the importance of women's role is beyond any dispute. To reciprocate the increasing gender awareness, the Government should provide more opportunities for women to contribute their talents towards national and social development. This will promote social progress and improve women's economic status."
She said it is the Section opinion that the lack of childcare services is an obstacle to the progress of women's participation in politics and career undertakings.
"This lack of childcare centre and costly private childcare, the disparity in quality and standard in childcare services also attributed to low female employment rate in Malaysia," she said.
Although female students form a large ratio than male students in higher learning institution, she said the current working environment is not women friendly.
"Women often faced difficulty to shoulder additional burdens, juggling between domestic responsibilities and career concerns," she said.
"Many women are forced to resign from workplace causing loss of income and hardship to many families, in particular, in time of inflation and rising cost of living," she said.
Ng suggested that the Government should legislate to compel government-linked companies, government agencies and medium-sized private companies to set up child-care services.
"This will allow women time to develop their potential in career advancement, increase women's employment rate while their children are being taken care of,"she said.
"This will also assist the female gender to be financially sustainable and increase the family's household income and stability," she said.
The government she said should also legislate to enforce gender equality in private sectors such as 90 days of paid maternity leave, equal pay, equal promotion opportunities and incentives for working women.
Ng reiterated that it is high time that women be allowed to participation and contribute towards the country's economy growth.
"This will also help to strike a balance between career building and family life, improving on individual and family financial stability achieving a win-win situation in many aspect," she said.