Sawo not aware Warisan also abused Nominated YB post
Published on: Sunday, November 08, 2020
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WE are terribly sorry that the Zoom Protest on 11th October 2020 that we organised  turned Uncle CP Kui’s peaceful Sunday morning to an unpleasant experience. 

Firstly, on behalf of Sawo and Rakyat is Bos, it is only right that we introduce ourselves as the young individuals who are concerned about the political development of our state. 

The Sawo today are led by the 2nd generation of Sawo leaders and are young budding activists, the SAWOrriors.

For the past 30 years, Sawo championed women’s rights especially with regards to gender-based violence because there were no other groups to do that. The work of our group has always been political because women’s issues are political issues.

Their work has established strong support systems in the community for women facing discrimination and that has allowed us, the younger generation, a chance to focus on political empowerment of women. 

To answer to your question then, uncle C.P. Kui, we are young and like many youths before this, we did not care much about politics until recently. 

We did not even realise that Sabah was able to appoint nominated Aduns to the state legislative assembly (DUN). We did not make the demands during the Warisan-led government’s time because we did not realise that the nominated Adun seats could be abused to force entry of parties and politicians whom Sabahan voters did not even vote for. 

There are so many loopholes to this nominated Adun mechanism which we’ve only come to realise. This current political setting that has been passed down to us from the wiser generation has made us realise that we cannot remain quiet anymore. 

What really got us thinking was these facts. On nomination day, there were only 43 women out of 447 candidates  and after the election, PAS, a party which lost a total of RM 90,000 in deposits in all 18 constituencies contested in 2018 and hence dared not contest in 2020 broke into our DUN, now shamelessly positioning itself as a necessary element for unity in Sabah. 

Equally shameful is zero-vote frog politician, Jaffari Waliam, who was a nominated member representing PKR but defected in February. Instead of honourably winning a seat in the election like 10 other ex-Aduns who changed party, Jaffari fears voters’ verdict and gets reappointed as a nominated member under Bersatu.

The alarmingly low women participation in politics made us realise that we needed to do something to push for change in the structural system so that women can participate more actively in the highest level of power in the state, the DUN, and by extension, also state cabinet. 

Our only solution was to push for the appointment as nominated Aduns the best women candidates who lost because they were brave, capable and received outstanding support from their communities. 

For your information, Sawo has pushed for minimum women representation with our sister organisations as the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (Jag4ge) the Parliament and our constitution. Now, we realise that much work is needed to implement this in our state government. We do understand that change does not happen overnight, good leaders are not formed in a day. So, as young women activists, we are ready to learn.

Therefore, uncle C.P. Kui, we humbly request that you share with us your wisdom to help us figure out how to increase women representation in DUN if not through top-up seats, and how to stop zero-vote parties like PAS and zero-politicians from stealing a seat if not by prioritising best losers or deserving civil society leaders.  

Forgive us for our naïve approach or lack of strategic actions in engaging our society about the issue of low women’s representation in the legislative assembly. Perhaps we could have a discussion over coffee about efficient approaches in tackling this issue especially since we were probably in our diapers when all the prominent political issues occurred back in those days, hence, the lack of Sawo’s appearance in public to make noise about them. 

Our coffee chat can be live-cast so more concerned Sabahans can join in our conversation. We hope that you would reply us throught Forum or contact us through our email ([email protected]).

For more information, please contact:

Grazele Jenarun (Sawo Honorary Secretary)

[email protected] / +60 19-978 1000

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Inisiatif Rakyat is Bos 

- Nominated Assembly post abuse did not occur overnight but ever since the first state election in 1967. 

The proviso was included by the colonial administration, so that minority voices would get a chance for their voices to be heard in the State Assembly.

It is said that the only fair application of the proviso was between independence through Malaysia in 1963 and before the 1967 polls when even the Sabah Indian Congress was among included during the administration of appointed first CM, Donald Stephens (later Tun Fuad).

Subsequent administrations post – 1967 saw the position given to party cronies and even known timber thieves as political rewards, including for funding the winning parties during elections. – Ed

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