Opening Remarks by Dato’ Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah Chairman, AFPPD Malaysia Minister of Finance II At The Asia-Pacific Women Parliamentarians’ and Ministers’ Conference on Parliamentarians’ Action for Gender Issues
Opening Remarks by Dato’ Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah Chairman, AFPPD Malaysia Minister of Finance II The Asia-Pacific Women Parliamentarians’ and Ministers’ Conference on Parliamentarians’ Action for Gender Issues 14-15 November 2009, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The Honourable Dato’ Seri Sharizat Abdul Jalil, Minister of Women, Family and Community Development, Malaysia
The Honourable Senator Dr Pinit Kullavanujaya, Secretary-General, Asian Forum of Parliamentarians for Population and Development (AFPPD)
Ms Nobuko Horibe, Regional Director, UNFPA Asia and the Pacific Regional Office
My fellow Ministers, Parliamentarians and delegates
Ladies and gentlemen
1. It is indeed my pleasure to deliver few words at this Conference today. I have just gotten back from APEC Singapore yesterday and have missed a speech by Barack Obama today. Indeed, this Conference’s cause is close to my heart.
2. I am a member of a minority in this world. The fairer sex makes up 52% of the global population and if there is fair representation in this world, this planet would be a kinder, cleaner and safer home for all us.
Ladies and gentlemen
3. There was a Malaysian who lost his job due to the Asian Crisis in 1997/98. He got very depressed and almost lost complete confidence of himself as a breadwinner for his family. After many months, his wife decided to make things good. She began selling “nasi lemak”, a rice breakfast meal every morning. The family went through several years of difficult times. From breakfast, she extended her offerings to lunch items and then cakes for the evenings. Her husband, out of wounded pride, initially refused to lend a hand. They are now co-partners.
4. I know this family. I was the lady’s first few customers back in 1998. I am happy to tell you that, a decade later, Fatimah and her husband Sulaiman, they both now live a good middle class income life with three grown children.
5. This story is actually not special. It is certainly not unique. It is even commonplace. In fact, there are many millions of stories like this all across the world, stories of women, many are single mothers, whom have persevered through much hardship and adversities, and yet, like some miracle, come through in the end, bearing a brand of dignity that can only come only from someone who believes in the power of self. This group that I am talking about, they are known by many names but I know, most people call them “Mother”.
Ladies and gentlemen
6. I have four sons and no daughters. My wife and I would dearly love to have one but such is God’s way. But this fact does not make it any less for me to wish for all daughters of the world to have the ability to achieve their dreams and their hopes, whatever it maybe, be the best that she can be.
7. Yes, we do see many women leaders now, many at the top of their fields of expertise and profession. However, if we were to realise that it took each lady at least twice the effort of a man, to be where is she is, we would wonder - How many more girls out there who could have been whoever she wanted to be if she had the benefit of a supportive family, an enlightened community and a just & fair legislative structure?
8. Yes, Fatimah, is a determined lady. Indeed, the tenacity and perseverance of women in the pursuit of their goals are the hallmarks of their strength and character. But the reality is - it is still a man’s world. In this regard, we Parliamentarians have a crucial role to play. As representatives of the electorate, we have direct links to the hopes and aspirations of our constituents. When I visit them, when I meet them, I listen. I can assure you, they have many stories to tell and many dreams to fly. 9. Let us not allow a girl’s dream be vanquished through no fault of her own. Let us give her all that we can give to make her life as fulfilling as her brothers might enjoy. Let us bear this responsibility not as a burden but as a measure of ours thanks and gesture of appreciation to Fatimah and all the many millions of Fatimahs the world over.
10. This cause that we are supporting, it will not be just for the benefit of women. When there is gender equality, the true beneficiary will be all of us, both of us, descendants of Adam and Eve. With fairer representation in this world, this planet will indeed, as I said, be a kinder, cleaner and safer home for all of us.
11. It is not with little pride that I chair AFPPD Malaysia. We do important work here and I hope that the knowledge and the friendship that we have gained this week will bring us closer to fulfilling our duty.
12. I thank The Honourable Senator Dr Pinit Kullavanujaya and Ms Nobuko Horibe for being here today. Your commitment, both, are exemplary. To my fellow Parliamentarians whom have travelled many miles to be here, welcome to Malaysia. To all delegates, thank you for your kind attention.
13. I shall not delay you much longer for we have a very determined and formidable lady speaking after me. She is passionate in her support of all her causes and a force to be reckoned within the region’s women movement. Dato’ Seri Sharizat, I do apologise for taking you away from your family on this weekend morning but I know the cause of this Conference is a cause that is very close to your heart too. Thank you for coming, Dato’ Seri.
Terakhir Dikemaskini Khamis, 03 Disember 2009 08:11
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