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Make strides beyond Sabah, women urged
Published on: Sunday, March 18, 2012

Kota Kinabalu: Women were urged to make strides beyond the horizons of Sabah if they aspire to be in the international forefront of service.

Making the call, Saturday, Minister of Community Development & Consumer Affairs, Datuk Azizah Mohd Dun, said women in Sabah are capable and qualified to take up high-profile roles at international level.

"I strongly believe that Malaysian women in Sabah have the capacity to handle any tasks assigned to them. They can carry out any work, given the opportunity at the right time and at the right place," she told reporters after officiating at the 32nd Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Inner Wheel District 330 (covering Malaysia and Singapore) at Le Meridien Hotel, here.

She was asked whether she agreed that women in Sabah are qualified to serve at the United Nations (UN) Division for the Advancement of Women.

And would Azizah, who is also Klias Assemblywoman, encourage women to serve at the UN level?

"Anywhere for that matter, it doesn't have to be the United Nations.

It could be anywhere if it is for the good of women, for the good of the nation and for the good of our State of Sabah."

UN Women, which is a new United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, became operational in January last year.

Answering another question, Azizah acknowledged International Inner Wheel as a huge networking platform of service where women from diverse nations, races and cultures could congregate and exchange notes.

This, she said, was reflected in its presence in about 95 countries worldwide with over 3,715 clubs and 100,000 members.

"With such a big International Inner Wheel Family throughout the world, members of Inner Wheel Clubs can be effective in promoting true friendship, upholding the ideals of personal service and fostering international understanding.

"As the world's largest women service organisation, you can play a major role in building bridges of friendship and community service amidst the society," she told the gathering.

On the same note, the Minister said the Government needs non-governmental organisations (NGOs) such as Inner Wheel to complement its effort in implementing social welfare programmes for target groups. "Hence, Inner Wheel is a 'unifying force' for women to pool their resources in the realm of voluntarism. In this context, women in Sabah can learn about 'best practices' from their counterparts in other countries."


Earlier, in her address, Azizah urged women in Sabah to come and move forward to the international level.

"Prove to the entire world that Malaysian women are the best role models to be looked up to as 'successful women of substance," she said.

"With their multi-tasking talent, women in general can continually aim high in their platforms of service. Women can serve with great compassion because of their natural gift of love and care,'" she said to applause.

"Mother Theresa once said 'we cannot do great things on this Earth, only small things with great love'."

However, given their multiple roles as wives, mothers, homemakers and career women, the Minister emphasised the need to juggle time and plan well to meet the numerous demands of their positions.

Azizah hailed the theme of International Inner Wheel - Think Ahead and Aim High, saying it is relevant in this era when the world's landscape is changing rapidly.

Women, she said, have created a major impact in every arena.

"In fact, women have also played important roles in the socio-economic development of nations. Around the world, we can see women holding senior positions in the economic and other development sectors."

In tandem with the theme, Inner Wheel members were advised to be farsighted and plan well, taking the future into account.

"Think ahead, and aim high with enthusiasm, tolerance and a positive vision of the future."

Accompanying the Minister were Chairman of Inner Wheel District 330, Rokiah Staun (Sabah), International Inner Wheel Board Director, Shirin Rustom Ghadiali (Singapore), National Representative of Inner Wheel District 330, Joy Sundram (Kuala Lumpur), Past International Inner Wheel Board Director, Datuk Nancy Ho (Sabah), President of the Inner Wheel Club of Kota Kinabalu, Sarifah Sihah Habib Ahmad and Organising Chairperson Datin Rubina Majin Pung.

About 150 members representing 19 Inner Wheel Clubs in Malaysia and Singapore are attending the three-day AGM which ends today (Sunday).


It is hosted by the Inner Wheel Club (IWC) of Kota Kinabalu.

Also present are two observers from Western Australia - Chairman of Inner Wheel District A40, Karen McKenzie, and Kay Durrant, a member of the Inner Wheel Club of Karrinyup.

Chairman of Inner Wheel District 330, Rokiah Staun, who also spoke, said Inner Wheel District 330 has been in existence for 34 years but there are individual clubs within the District which are much older.

According to her, the oldest club, IWC of Singapore was chartered 66 years ago while the second oldest, IWC of Ipoh was chartered 64 years ago.

"In fact, the first five clubs, including the host (IWC of Kota Kinabalu) have already celebrated their 50th anniversary."

Staun also noted that the District has the distinction of being a single District representing two countries (Malaysia and Singapore).

"The 23 Clubs in the District are therefore widely spread.

Each AGM which lasts for almost three days is the only occasion when members from all Clubs within the District meet," she said.

Deserving mention were two new Clubs, namely IWC of Kuching (Sarawak) and IWC of Kuala Lumpur City Centre. Other participating clubs are IWC of Bangsar, IWC of Klang, IWC of Kuala Lumpur, IWC of Kuala Lumpur North, IWC of Petaling Jaya, IWC of Selangor, IWC of Subang Selangor, IWC of Penang, IWC of Ipoh East, IWC of Taiping, IWC of Singapore East, IWC of Singapore West, IWC of Miri and IWC of Sandakan.

Describing Inner Wheel as a great organisation, President of the Inner Wheel Club of Kota Kinabalu, Sarifah Sihah Habib Ahmad said the ladies were gathered together in friendship for a common cause - Service to the Community.

"It is sobering to realise that there are so many who need help out there.

Although so much help is still needed, there is so little that we can actually do as individuals.


"However, together as a group, we can do so much more," she said.

"And in helping others, we ourselves have grown in terms of friendship, wisdom and faith in God and humanity."

Also present were Rotary International District 3310 Governor, Hj Zainie Abdul Aucasa and First Lady Hjh Kalimah Ekwan, Assistant District Governor Eddie Choong and spouse, and representatives from seven Rotary Clubs in Kota Kinabalu.

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