GEORGE TOWN, Dec. 10 — The Penang state government is introducing a “Top-up Women-Only Additional Seats” (TWOAS) initiative to nominate women for the state legislative assembly if there is less than 30 per cent female representation among elected assemblymen.
Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said this system will ensure that there will be at least 30 per cent women representation in the state legislative assembly.
“The nomination would be based on percentage of popular votes obtained by a party through their candidates that took part in an election,” he said during a press conference at his office today.
He said the TWOAS system is a democratic system that will reflect the current political composition of the state assembly.
“It will be based on the percentage of votes obtained by the respective political parties during elections so the system will benefit all parties including the Opposition,” he said.
He gave an example of the system where there were six elected female assemblymen so nine female assemblymen will be appointed to “top-up” the number of women assemblymen to 15.
The 15 female assemblymen, out of a total 49 assemblymen, bring the total percentage of female representation in the state assembly to 30.5 per cent.
He added that nominated candidates must be those who had attended gender advocacy workshops and of different ethnic groups and ages.
However, in order to implement this, the state would need to amend its state constitution and approve a new enactment on the rights and privileges of the appointed women assemblymen.
Chow said a TWOAS special committee was formed and approved by the state exco in October.
“The TWOAS special committee will conduct various consultation sessions with stakeholders to obtain feedback and further details on the implementation of TWOAS,” he said.
He said the consultation sessions will be conducted over the next few months in early 2021.
“We welcome all feedback, not only from Penangites, but from other states or even internationally, on this system,” he said.
He said the earliest the state could amend its constitution to allow this would be at the legislative assembly sitting in November next year.
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