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Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Wanita Umno members have not proven political acumen, says party veteran

NST (5/11/2007): Wanita Umno members have yet to prove their political acumen, says Umno veteran Tan Sri Aishah Ghani.

“The men have proven themselves but the women haven’t, although I know it is not an easy matter. One way they (women) can prove themselves is by leading more branches and divisions,” she told Bernama in a recent interview.

Aishah, who led Wanita Umno for 12 years from 1972, however, said the struggle was a “work in progress” and that a good indicator that they could achieve the goal would be when a Wanita Umno member is elected a vice-president (Umno has three elected vice presidents).

Having been a Wanita Umno member since 1949 and active for 44 years from 1960, she said that only Sabah was seen as more liberal in the matter as women had more opportunities to be division chairmen in the state.

She hoped that with women now having reached dizzying heights in education, it would only be a matter of time this (a woman vice president) could be a reality.
Aishah, 83, said there were also Malay women who feared entering the world of politics because it is dominated by men and that they should discard this mentality.

She said Wanita Umno members also limited their role in the party machinery and worked only for the general election.

“They should step up the plate and engage in a more leadership role. In this day and age their role should not appear to be “minor”,” said Aishah, who is still active as the chairman of Koperasi Jaya Murni Wanita.

She said that women also had it much easier now unlike in the past when getting funding for the wing’s activities was an ardous task.

“Now the members are pampered, money and other facilities come easily.

Then, very often we (members) had to pay out of our own pockets to fund activities,” she said.

Aishah, who wrote her autobiography titled “Aishah Ghani Memoir Seorang Pejuang” (Aishah Ghani: Memoirs of a Freedom Figther) that was launched on Nov 4, 1992, added that overall the party (Umno) was on the right track with able leaders and was optimistic that it would continue to do well in the future.


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