Women's Political Participation in Malaysia

The Non-Bumiputra's Perspective

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Women's involvement in political activities in Malaysia has become apparent since 1945. While earlier, women's political roles were limited only to campaigning and voting, more recently, it is estimated that less than 5 percent of women are formally involved in politics and compete as candidates for parliamentary and state assembly seats. In the recent election of 1995, women's involvement has been relatively encouraging, as 61 women from various political parties competed as candidates. The numbers still remain quite small, constituting only 4.64 percent of the total number of candidates competing for the total number of 586 seats, both at the parliamentary (192) and state assembly (394) levels. Of the 60 women candidates, 10 were non-bumiputra women. This paper seeks to make a general survey of political participation among the non-bumiputra women. Aspects that are examined here include profiles of these women and the obstacles and challenges they faced while participating in the political sphere. The research reveals that the majority of women who stood for election held important posts, such as president, vice-president, state chairman, or chief of the women's wings of the political parties, prior to becoming candidates. These women also had at least a graduate degree and earlier had professional occupations, such as school and college teaching. Women members of three major parties, the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC), Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA), and Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia (GRM), are the main focus of this paper. The women had varied academic and professional backgrounds and some were housewives. The obstacles and challenges they faced in becoming candidates were closely linked to socially given notions about gender. Other significant factors affecting their political participation were religious and family background, education, and experience in the political field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-46
Number of pages38
JournalAsian Journal of Women's Studies
Volume5
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1999

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political participation
Malaysia
candidacy
president
election
housewife
political activity
voting
occupation
graduate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies

Cite this

Women's Political Participation in Malaysia : The Non-Bumiputra's Perspective. / Mustafa, Mahfudzah.

In: Asian Journal of Women's Studies, Vol. 5, No. 2, 1999, p. 9-46.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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