Monday, 1 February 2010
Responding to the Call of Times
This special booklet themed “Responding to the Call of Times” records and reviews events from 17 October 2008 to date. The booklet’s theme was primarily based on endless challenges encountered from both within and outside the party in the past year. Morale has been low following defeat in the March 2008 general election. Further, successive squabbles in the wake of the party election held on 18 October 2008 have caused delays and setbacks to our efforts in the process of transformation.
Indeed times have changed such that people of today have much more higher expectations from political parties. The March 2008 general election results evidently showed us that what the people are tired of just lip service or minor benefits. People are fed up and jaded of abuse of power and corruption. They want democracy, transparency, openness and justice. The major reason we were defeated in many electoral districts was neither because we did not serve our electorate nor because we did not perform well. Rather it was the service provided by us which has failed to change the overall trend of abuse of power and corruption. We failed to convince the people of our ability and sincerity in rectifying errors. Consequently, if we were to continue with past approach of being contented with superficial harmony while turning a blind eye to the rot beneath such harmony; if we are unable to safeguard democracy even within our own party but choose to endure and compromise in silence; not only will democracy which mankind has been fighting for centuries vanish overnight, thus we will never be able to face the people with dignity and pride! Thus, how do we convince the people that we uphold democracy, transparency, openness and justice?
In the past one year, we persisted in marching forward steadfastly together, hand in hand with Wanita MCA Central Committee members, grassroots leaders and members amid various challenges and turbulences. Within a short span of one year, we have successfully implemented the Wanita MCA’s 5 Plans based on the 7 Objectives, which was strategically planned for a term of three years. We have seen remarkable records of achievements in the implementation of some plans while one plan with preliminary results; another in the preparation process ready to be implemented and finally two plans at the initial stages of implementation.
One notable achievement is the setting up of 31 Women and Children Aid Counselling Rooms nationwide. Initiative in line with the objectives and plans which is showing preliminary results is marked by the Political Strategy Bureau with continuous efforts such as presenting memoranda to relevant government agencies and expressing political views and opinions through the media. While the Women Entrepreneur Development Centre (WEDC) falls in the ready to be launched preparatory process, recruitment and training initiatives for the Elite Teams and Beliawanis are under way.
Responding to the call of times, we must be more determined and persevering than ever;
Responding to the call of times, we must discard our reserved attitude and inward looking approach;
Responding to the call of times, we must be clear with our objectives and never compromise when it comes to key issues and matters of principle!
Responding to the call of times, we are undaunted by any challenges and hurdles and we shall resolutely march forward!
Chew Mei Fun
Friday, 29 January 2010
Resolute in Surmounting All Odds
After being in power for over five decades, BN has failed to address the discontentment of the people in respect to many policies and allowed public indignation to continue. Eventually BN realized the importance of the people’s aspiration when the election results were announced.
Looking back at the former MCA president Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting’s 9-Point Party Platform and his determination in creating a healthy political culture, it is evident that Tan Sri Ong had in fact foreseen what and where the problem was. Unfortunately, the process of reform on party values and his vision in creating a healthy political culture then was in fact outpaced by the changes of time and thus could not alter the results of the general election.
Hence, today we must not only continue in our efforts to create a healthy political culture but must also be more determined to demonstrate political integrity and end all forms of corruption.
Thursday, 28 January 2010
The 7 Objectives and 5 Plans in the era of CHEW MEI FUN
In her campaign for the post of Wanita MCA National Chairman in 2008, Chew Mei Fun proposed the concept of “Achieving a breakthrough to march towards a new direction” and announced the 7 objectives for Wanita MCA’s future development. Soon after her election as the Wanita MCA National Chairman, she began to expedite the 5 plans grounded on the 7 objectives. In the past one year, remarkable results in implementingthe 5 Plans were evident.
Wanita MCA was established with the core aim of providing a political platform for women to overcome all limitations. However, women may be restricted by some form of constraints either self-imposed or otherwise.
Although we are duty-bound to safeguard the rights of women, however as political leaders, we must be obliged to serve the people. To gain wider acceptance and trust of others, we must not confine our scope caring only for the social welfare of women, children and family. Instead we must extend our caring horizon and be leaders for the people to make full use of our ability and be able to surmount challenges and hurdles ahead.
Effect Change through strategic analysis of policies and political professionalism
Deliberating on legislation and government policies
Following post mortem on our defeat at the general election in March 2008, we realize that it is imperative for Wanita MCA to break free from convention. And to be leaders for all, we must have a clear-cut stand on important and fundamental issues. Apart from women-related topics, we must actively involve in deliberation of topics concerning the entire population and national development in a critical and professional manner. We must convince the people with our ideas and project Wanita MCA as neither a pompous nor submissive political entity with a professional and outspoken approach in political affairs.
Serve as a synergetic and integrated organizational network
Creating strategic team by pooling professionals
With a membership of over 400,000, Wanita MCA is an important wing of the party. Equally important is to capitalise on the numerical strength of membership and nurture talented members within the party. Hence, the organizational development and grooming of qualified members must include all organizational levels to form a synergetic and integrated network.
The respective divisions in the party will continue to be responsible for the setting up of branches and recruitment of new members. On the other hand, employment and training of talented members, recruitment of professionals, and the setting up of a talent pool shall be decided upon and strategized by the central leadership. These shall be carried out with the co-operation of the entire party hierarchy so that we can prevail both in terms of numbers and quality.
Friendly political environment for youths
I have my stance!
In order to create a friendly platform for young people to participate in politics, we have started to reinvent the image of Wanita MCA so as to project a vibrant, open, liberal and creative image to attract the participation of young people.
We will set up a database on party members below the age of 35 through training, delegation of power and an open platform. Meanwhile,we will extend our full backing to Beliawanis to carry out various reforms and innovative programmes.
Professionalism in our core mission for women
Breaking away from convention and the sky is the limit
In addition to extending our caring horizon and fully participating in political deliberations, we must persevere to provide assistance to underprivileged women, children and families.
We endeavor to achieve the noble mission of protecting and caring for underprivileged women, children and families through professional and practical training for para-counsellors; research on policies and provide recommendation to existing legislations and policy implementation for the benefit of the underprivileged communities.
您有您看法 她有她坚持 我有我主见 在这里大家都有发言权
Integrate with the community and be people-oriented
Whatever your views or mine, we all have our stance
As people are the lifeline of MCA, we must continue to be an integral part of the society and expand our network. In this respect, we have formed the Women NGO Community Liaison Bureau to implement community and people-oriented activities and to enable Wanita MCA members to fully identify and integrate with their community.
林瑞娟 Lim Swee Kiang
Head of Women NGO Community Liaison Bureau
The political life of MCA comes from the general public and is closely related to the Chinese community. For this reason, Wanita MCA has for the first time formed the Women NGO Community Liaison Bureau to implement community and people-oriented activities to enable its members to fully integrate with their respective community and mobilise the strength of women to become a political force to be reckoned with.
Cultivating a healthy political culture
Democracy, Rule of Law, Integrity and Honesty
Only those political parties which truly subscribe to the principles of democracy, rule of law, transparency and honesty will receive mandate from the people. Hence the drive to “Create a healthy political culture” advocated by former President Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting must be continued and implemented.
In order to capitalize on full potential and ability of members, internally, we must ensure no communication gap between all levels of party organisation and leadership. Further we must ensure systematic decision-making and administration; transparency; openness; collective leadership and collective responsibility.
I participate in politics for the betterment of human race!
Policy-Guided and Professional Political Participation
“政治策略局所展开的政策倡导工作将不只涉及中央妇女组的层级，也将动员州与区级妇女组在州议会或县市议会提呈建议与备忘录，一方面履行作为政党的角色，另一方面也达到整体政治培训与动员的效果。” - 周美芬
The Political Strategy Bureau brings together professionals in the respective fields to deliberate on various issues and conducts professional and strategic political analysis. Such initiatives aim to explore issues requiring reform and identify strategies in law-making and policy implementation processes, enabling Wanita MCA to substantially participate in such processes. In addition, it will promptly respond to any controversial issues and express its views to ensure “perfection, precision and promptness" as required by professionalism in politics.
“As a political organisation, Wanita MCA must keep abreast with the developments in the nation’s political, economic, cultural, education and other fields and play an active and leading role in political deliberation. In this respect, Wanita MCA has formed the Political Strategy Bureau to specifically study and explore topical issues, government policy implementation and bills relating to the rights of women and the people, politics, economy, culture, education and other areas and make known the stance and views of Wanita MCA on such issues."
In the short span of one year under the leadership of YB Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun as the new National Chairman, Wanita MCA has successfully projected a strong image in political deliberation by professionally collecting and studying input on various topics relating to education, religion, women and foreign spouses, and so on, and firmly making known its stance and views with solid practical and theoretical basis. It has not only played a leading role in rallying NGOs to submit memoranda to relevant authorities but has also formed a platform to jointly study topical issues with NGOs!
“The initiatives taken by the Political Strategy Bureau in political deliberation and policy making process are not confined to Wanita MCA’s central leadership. It will mobilize Wanita MCA at all state and divisional levels to present their recommendations and memorandum in the respective State Assemblies or District or Municipal Councils to discharge their role as a political party as well as to achieve goal of overall political training and mobilization.” – Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun
Significant Achievements by The Political Strategy Bureau of Wanita MCA:
In line with the overall objective of the Policy-Guided and Professional Political Participation, the National Wanita MCA formed the Political Strategy Bureau following election of the new committee last year. This Bureau is a Wanita mechanism for substantive intervention based on professional and strategic political analysis to effect changes in the implementation of policies which affect women and the general public. It advocates and lobbies for protection and promotion of rights and interests of all, particularly women through conducting research, deliberating and effective strategizing on various issues concerning women’s rights.
In the brief period of one year, the Political Strategy Bureau has actively and clearly made known Wanita MCA’s stance on a variety of national issues and recorded achievement in a number of issues.
Wanita MCA Central Committee members and women leaders of 12 Chinese Associations submitting the “Memorandum on Promoting Respect for Women to Uphold Gender Equality and non-discrimination in Parliament” to YB Dato’ Seri Mohamed Nazri Bin Aziz, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department on 15 Jan 2009 (top left), and to YB Tan Sri Datuk Seri Utama Pandikar Amin Bin Haji Mulia, Speaker of the Lower House (bottom right) and YB Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr Abdul Hamid Pawanteh, President of the Upper House (bottom left) on 23 Feb 2009
Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun and Erina Loo, Chairman of MWTGA showing the letter from the Ministry of Tourism recognising MWTGA as an autonomous organisation independent from affiliation with the MTGC
拿汀巴杜卡周美芬颁发纪念品予出席交流的移民厅助理总监再迪（左三） Chew Mei Fun presenting a token of appreciation to En. Zaidi bin Yahya, Chief Assistant Director of Visa, Pass and Permit Division of Immigration Department. Looking on from left: Dato’ Michael Chong, Dato’ Leong Tang Chong, YB Senator Heng Seai Kie, Ms Fui K. Soong
1. Submission of "Memorandum on Promoting respect for women and upholding gender equality and non-discrimination in the Parliament and State Assemblies"
Prohibition on the use of sexist and gender discriminatory language in Parliament will be integrated into the existing Standing Orders upon the approval by the Dewan Rakyat following a Dewan Rakyat Proceedings Regulations Subcommittee meeting chaired by the Speaker;
The latest development is that the proposed amendments have been submitted to the Attorney General’s Chambers for review.
Commitment from the past President of the Dewan Negara YB Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr. Abdul Hamid Pawanteh to amend the Standing Orders to safeguard the image of the Parliament and the dignity of members of Parliament of both genders. We believe this amendment will soon materialize following the appointment of MCA Secretary General YB Senator Dato’ Wong Foon Meng as the new President of the Dewan Negara.
2. Protecting and Promoting rights of women tourist guides in Malaysia
The recognition of the Malaysian Women Tourist Guides Association as an autonomous body by the Ministry of Tourism following a letter dated 26 December 2008 issued by the Secretary-General, allowing its members to renew their licenses without being affiliated to the Malaysian Tourist Guide Council which had rejected their application as an affiliate member;
The stern policy announced by the Tourism Minister YB Dato’ Sri Dr. Ng Yen Yen that licenses of travel agencies will be revoked if they continue to require women tourist guide/tour leaders to share the same room with their male colleagues on over-night assignments;
However, travel agencies have not fully adhered to and implemented the policy as announced by the Minister of Tourism as tourist guides are reluctant to report to any incident of non-compliance to the enforcement authorities for fear of losing their job. In this respect, Wanita MCA will continue following up the issue to ensure that the matter is resolved.
3. Advocacy opposing unilateral conversion of children to Islam when one parent converts
Wanita MCA played an instrumental role in facilitating briefing and discussion between key party leaders and non-government organizations were on the proposed amendments to the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 deliberating to retain good proposed sections and recommend amendments to proposed sections which are not in favour of the non-converting spouse and their children. This initiative was to ensure that proposed amendments will not affect the rights of the non-converting spouse, children and family members when a spouse converts to Islam.
4. Promoting and Protecting Rights of Non-citizen spouses of Malaysian and their children
A memorandum outlining key challenges; gaps in laws, policies and administrative procedures and recommendation on the right to stay, right to work and rights of children to a non-citizen parent will be presented to the Minister of Home Affairs. The memorandum is an outcome from the Forum/ Workshop on non-citizen spouses of Malaysian and their children which was held on 5 June 2009 and participated by the Foreign Spouse Support Group (FSSG), Wanita Section of Parti Gerakan and non-governmental organisations such as National Council of Women’s Organisations (NCWO), Women’s Aid Organisation, Family Law Sub-committee of the Bar Council, The Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, Formosa Women Organisation of Malaysia. Subsequent to the forum/workshop, the drafting committee met several times to fine tune the final draft Memorandum prior to circulating to the participants for comments and feedback.
The memorandum highlights the legal loopholes, the rights of residence, employments of non-citizen spouses, and the rights of their children. Wanita MCA will meet the Minister of Home Affairs soon to present the memorandum.