On the Eternal Treadmill: Malaysian Women and Politics


About the Webinar

While 2020 has not been a banner year for anyone around the globe, it has been a particularly miserable one for Malaysian women. The baby steps towards equality that were achieved under the Pakatan Harapan government – the first female Deputy Prime Minister, the highest number of women Ministers in the Cabinet – have largely been swept away under the coup that saw the government replaced by Perikatan Nasional. Although there are still five women Ministers, they are a smaller proportion of a vastly inflated Executive. Worse still, the quality of these Ministers, in particular the Minister for Women, Family and Community Development and her Deputy, is wanting. In fact, their attitudes towards women are regressive.

Additionally, some ten women who had been appointed by the Pakatan Harapan to head various government bodies, including MARA, Malaysia Airports Bhd and Prasarana were removed almost as soon as Perikatan Nasional took power and replaced by politicians, mostly men. This was seen as an enticement for these politicians to stay loyal to PN and not return to the PH fold.

While change was slow under the PH government, these moves by PN has been particularly disastrous for women. This webinar will discuss why and what the future holds for women as long as PN remains in power.

About the Speaker

Marina Mahathir is a writer, women’s rights and HIV/AIDS activist. She had served as the President of the Malaysian AIDS Council (1993-2005) and the Board of Sisters in Islam (2010-2016). Marina has authored three compilations of her newspaper columns, In Liberal Doses (1997), Telling It Straight (2012), and Dancing on Thin Ice (2015). In 2010, Marina was named the UN Person of the Year by the United Nations in Malaysia, and in 2011, she was one of only two Malaysian women named to WomenDeliver.org’s list of 100 Most Inspiring People Delivering for Girls and Women. In 2016, Marina received France’s highest award, the Chevalier de la Legion D’Honneur in recognition of her work in HIV and women’s rights. This is in addition to receiving the Dato Paduka Mahkota Selangor (DPMS) from the Sultan of Selangor in 1997 which carries the title ‘Datin Paduka’. In 2018 she received an Honorary Doctorate from her alma mater, the University of Sussex, UK. Previously she also co-produced an award-winning TV programme for young women, 3R –Respect, Relax, Respond which ran for 10 years on TV3. Marina’s latest venture is a website for women travelers in Asia and the Middle East, Zafigo.com and ZafigoX, an event on women and travel that features inspiring women who have faced challenges and barriers while travelling and overcome them. Marina has just completed a Master’s degree in Creative Writing (Biography and Creative Non-Fiction) in the United Kingdom.


This webinar will be delivered online entirely. You can join the webinar at the specified date and time using devices (computer, phone, or tablet) with internet connection.

Please register here to receive your unique link for joining the webinar.

Limited spaces only, register early to avoid disappointment.

To join the webinar,
1. Install the Zoom client onto your computer or download the app on your mobile device.
2. Set up a Zoom account, using the following link: https://zoom.us/signup
3. Click on the unique link in your email.

For the best experience, please mute your microphone. If you have questions for the speaker, please key in your questions via the Q&A, stating your name and affiliation. The moderator will field them to the speaker during the Q&A session.


Jun 18 2020


3:00 pm - 4:30 pm