WCC commends Norlela Ariffin’s appointment to Penang state executive council

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Norlela Ariffin - Photograph: Facebook

Minutes after the Women’s Centre for Change (WCC) issued a press statement calling for PKR’s Norlela Ariffin to be appointed as the new Penang state executive council member for health, agriculture and agro-based industry, replacing Dr Afif Bahardin, the group received news that Norlela had indeed been appointed.

WCC would like to congratulate Norlela on her appointment and to commend Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and the Penang state government on this historical step towards increasing women’s representation in the Penang state executive council.

The WCC press statement is reproduced below:

Menyeru pencalonan, pelantikan Norlela Ariffin sebagai ahli exco Pulau Pinang

[ENGLISH VERSION BELOW] Pusat Kesedaran Wanita Pulau Pinang (WCC) ingin menyeru agar Norlela Ariffin, ahli Dewan Undangan Negeri Pulau Pinang untuk Penanti dinamakan sebagai calon dan dilantik sebagai exco pertanian, industri asas tani, pembangunan luar bandar dan kesihatan negeri Pulau Pinang untuk menggantikan Dr Afif Bahardin yang telah meletak jawatan baru-baru ini.

Norlela adalah seorang calon yang berkelayakan tinggi, berpengalaman dan berupaya. Beliau merupakan ahli dewan undangan negeri dua penggal dengan rekod terbukti dari segi inovasi di kawasan beliau.

Beliau memegang ijazah kedoktoran (PhD) dalam bidang sains dan inovasi. Dedikasi dan pemikiran luas beliau telah menghasilkan projek-projek yang baru dan unik untuk rakyat luar bandar di Penanti, termasuk Pesta Padi Antarabangsa Pulau Pinang (Penang International Paddy Festival) yang telah menerima Anugerah Inisiatif Hijau Cemerlang 2019 dari Institut Arkitek Landskap Malaysia dan projek bank makanan Penanti.

Beliau juga komited terhadap isu wanita dan gender. Sejak tahun 2011 beliau telah berkhidmat dalam lembaga pengarah Perbadanan Pembangunan Wanita Pulau Pinang (PWDC) dan kini merupakan ketua wanita cabang Permatang Pauh Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR).

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Selama 12 tahun sejak Pakatan Harapan mengambil alih kuasa di Pulau Pinang pada tahun 2008, bilangan ahli exco wanita dalam kerajaan negeri tidak pernah melebihi seorang.

Kini, satu-satunya exco wanita daripada jumlah 11 orang ahli (termasuk portfolio yang sebelum ini dipegang oleh Afif) adalah Chong Eng yang memegang portfolio pembangunan wanita dan keluarga, keterangkuman gender dan agama selain Islam.

Ini bermaksud peratusan perwakilan wanita dalam exco hanyalah 9% – jauh lebih rendah daripada sasaran kerajaan negeri Pulau Pinang untuk perwakilan gender yang seimbang di semua peringkat, iaitu 40:40:20 selaras dengan dasar keterangkuman gender negeri.

Oleh itu, kekosongan terkini dalam exco kerajaan negeri merupakan peluang terbaik untuk PKR dan kerajaan negeri Pulau Pinang merealisasikan komitmen masing-masing untuk meningkatkan perwakilan wanita dalam kepimpinan politik dan pembuatan keputusan.

Khususnya, berbanding dengan bidangkuasa ahli dewan undangan negeri biasa, ahli exco mempunyai akses kepada dana dan sumber kerajaan negeri yang lebih besar.

Oleh itu, ahli exco mempunyai potensi yang lebih tinggi untuk mewujudkan dasar dan amalan peringkat negeri yang mempunyai impak langsung ke atas hidup seharian ribuan orang Rakyat. Pemimpin wanita yang berkemampuan mestilah diberikan peluang menyertai exco.

WCC menyeru kepada pihak kepimpinan parti PKR Pulau Pinang serta kerajaan negeri Pulau Pinang supaya tidak melepaskan peluang ini untuk meningkatkan perwakilan wanita dalam kepimpinan eksekutif dan memanfaatkan Rakyat dengan perkhidmatan seorang wanita yang berbakat.

English version

Calling for Norlela Ariffin’s appointment as Penang state executive council member

The Women’s Centre for Change (WCC) would like to call for the nomination and appointment of Norlela Ariffin, the Penang State Assembly member for Penanti, for the position of Penang state executive council member for agriculture and agro-based industry, rural development and health, to replace Dr Afif Bahardin, who recently resigned from this position.

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Norlela is a well qualified, experienced and capable candidate. She is a two-term state assembly member with a proven track record of innovation in her constituency.

She holds a PhD in science and innovation. Her passion and ability to think outside the box has resulted in her pioneering groundbreaking projects for the citizens of the rural area of Penanti, including, most recently, the Penang International Paddy Festival, which received the Malaysia Landscape Architecture Green Initiatives Excellence Award 2019 and the Penanti food bank project.

She is also dedicated to promoting women’s and gender issues, serving on the board of directors of the Penang Women’s Development Corporation (PWDC) since 2011 and currently heading the women’s wing of Permatang Pauh PKR.

For the last 12 years since Pakatan Harapan took over Penang in 2008, there has never been more than one woman in the Penang state exectuvice councillor.

At present, the only woman out of a total of 11 members (including the portfolios previously held by Afif) in the Penang state executive council is Chong Eng, who holds the portfolios of women and family development, gender inclusiveness and religions other than Islam.

This amounts to 9% women’s representation in the executive council, which is far short of the Penang state government’s declared goal of 40:40:20 in gender representation at all levels in line with its policy of gender inclusiveness.

Hence, the current vacancy in the state executive counil presents a prime opportunity for PKR and the Penang state government to demonstrate their commitment to increasing women’s representation in political leadership and decision-making.

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In particular, compared to the purview of ordinary state assembly members, state executive council membership provides access to a larger pool of state funds and resources and therefore greater potential to formulate statewide policies and practices that directly impact the lives of thousands of Rakyat on a daily basis. Capable women leaders must be given access to lead in these arenas.

WCC urges the Penang state party leadership of PKR as well as the Penang state government to seize this opportunity to increase women’s representation in executive leadership and to provide the Rakyat with the benefit of Norlela’s talented service.

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