Women Leaders

MALAYSIA

Rafidah Aziz
Her Excellency Dato' Seri Rafidah Aziz is the Minister of International Trade and Industry for Malaysia, a position she has held since 1987. From 1980 to 1987 she was Malaysia's Minister of Public Enterprise, and from 1977 to 1980, she was Deputy Finance Minister. Prior to that she was a Senator.

She was born November 4, 1943, in Perak, Malaysia. She received her B.A.in 1966 and Master's degree in 1970 from the University of Malaya.

Sources and related links

Shahrizat Abdul Jalil
Datuk Shahrizat Abdul Jalil has been promoted to a full minister to head the newly-established Women's Affairs Ministry. She was formerly Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department holding the portfolios on population and development and women's affairs.

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Irene Fernandez
She is one of Malaysia's most effective and prominent human rights activists. Her life as an activist started when she was only 20 when she became actively involved in the Young Christian Workers Movement. There she monitored the working conditions of Malaysia’s plantation and industrial workers -- particularly in the textile and electronics industries where union busting is common.

In 1991, she helped establish Tenaganita (women's force), a grassroots organization committed to establishing "protective tools" for women. On the legislative front, the organization succeeded in establishing reform amendments to rape laws, model contracts for overseas domestic helpers, and a domestic violence act, which opened up complaint procedures for victims

On March 18, 1996, Irene Fernandez was arrested. Since then, Irene has been on trial for four years on charges of "malicious publishing" under the 1984 Printing Presses and Publication Act. Her only "offense" is having published a short memorandum (released by Tenaganita) in July 1995 on abuses in immigration detention centers in Malaysia. When the report was released, camp conditions attracted international attention. Drawing on interviews with over 300 former detainees, the memorandum alleged that unsanitary conditions, inadequate food and water, frequent deaths from beatings and a lack of medical care, sexual abuse, and corruption were rife in Malaysia's immigration detention camps. The government claims that the memorandum contained errors.

Related information

Zaitun Kassim
Zaitun is a prominent woman activist. She is currently the vice-president of and a key spokesperson for the All Women’s Action Society (AWAM). She worked for six years with Community Aid Abroad, a grassroots-development aid organization in Australia, aimed at poverty eradication and strengthening civil society.

She has a total of 10 years' experience in social movements for poverty eradication, women’s issues, human rights and sustainable development. She is also involved in disabled people’s issues and environmental issues including sustainable transportation. She is also member of Sisters in Islam and one of the founding members of a fledgling group called Forum for Equitable and Environment-Friendly Transport (FEET).

Source: The Independent Women's Candidate

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Ainum Mohamad Saaid
Ainum is Malaysia's first women Attorney General. She was appointed to the post January 1, 2001. Most Malaysians including oppositionists received her appointment warmly, and are hoping that she can help improve the judiciary's image. She had served with the Attorney General's Chambers for 26 years from July 1970 to January 1996, where she held posts such as head of prosecution and Parliamentary Draftsman. She is also the deputy chief executive of the Securities Commission.

Contact Information of the Attorney General:

Address: 20th Floor, Bangunan Bank Rakyat, Jalan Tangsi, 50512 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: (603) 2692 3077, (603) 2961 0129
Fax: (603) 2698 4929

Source: Global Info

Dr. Cecilia Ng Choon Sim
Dr. Cecilia Ng Choon Sim is an Associate Professor at the Women's Studies Unit, University Putra Malaysia. Presently, Cecilia is a Research Fellow at the United Nations University, Institute for New Technologies, Maastricht, where she is coordinating a policy research project on Teleworking and Development in Malaysia. She has conducted research and published widely on gender, development and work with a focus on technological change and women's employment. She sits on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of Gender, Development and Technology. She is also active in women's groups in Malaysia and is the founder member of the All Women's Action Society and the Women's Development Collective.

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Dated: 16Oct2002