KUALA LUMPUR: The private sector has five years to ensure that women make up at least 30% of those in decision-making positions.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said this policy had been approved by the Cabinet.
It is an extension of a similar ruling which was introduced for the public sector in 2004.
“I believe this landmark decision made by the Cabinet last week will be a catalyst for affirmative action and gender equality in the corporate sector.
“The decision shows that the Government today is not only supportive of women’s roles and success, but also encourages them to move further ahead in their careers,” Najib said at a press conference at Parliament lobby.
The Prime Minister’s announcement was greeted with cheers from the crowd, which largely comprised women from various fields in the private sector.
Present were Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, Deputy Minister Senator Heng Seai Kie and secretary-general Datuk Dr Noorul Ainur Mohd Nur.
Najib added that the five-year time frame was reasonable and expressed hope that the private sector would see this as a proactive measure to further strengthen companies’ structure and future performance.
He said the policy for at least 30% women to be in decision-making positions in the civil service had been successful, pointing out that the ratio had grown steadily to 32.3% last year from 18.8% in 2004.
The number of top women appointments in 200 companies listed in Bursa Malaysia as of November last year was only 7.6%. According to Bank Negara records, only 45 women or 6% were appointed to become board members of financial institutions as of April this year.
Najib said to ensure the policy would be implemented effectively, the Finance Ministry, with the co-operation of Khazanah Nasional Berhad, the Malaysian Alliance of Corporate Directors and the Malaysian Directors Academy, would formulate training programmes to prepare those with potential to be appointed to boards of directors.
Separately, Najib said the setting up of the Crops for the Future Research Centre (CFFRC) would make Malaysia a global hub for research and knowledge-transfer in the field of under-utilised crops.
He added that with the future of food security becoming increasingly uncertain, governments around the world were finally focusing on agriculture and taking steps towards putting long-term solutions in place.
CFFRC chairman Datuk Zainal Abidin Ahmad said the centre would receive RM113mil from the Government over seven years, of which RM46mil would be spent on setting up facilities.
Source : The Star