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First Ladies Summit Receives Ban Ki Moon's Recognition | 17/12/2010
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KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 17 2010 (Bernama) -- The First Ladies Summit 2010 is among the memorable moments in the Malaysian women's calendar this year when the wives of national leaders from 21 countries and 20 ministers gathered here to discuss various issues and problems faced by women, teenagers and children worldwide.

The idea for the three-day summit in October was mooted by the prime minister's wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, and was described as concerted efforts of women from various countries in finding solutions to the issues raised.

Malaysia's effort to become the first host of the summit was also recognised by United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon who thanked Malaysia for the initiatives to fight for the issues.

Ban expressed the matter when he received the declaration submitted by Rosmah while accompanying her husband, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, to attend the 17th Asean Summit in Hanoi.

With the success of the first summit, which focused on cooperation by families, communities and governments to tap the potential of every child, Malaysia is keen to host the second summit in 2012.

Meanwhile, Malaysia continues to show increasing support for efforts to upgrade the social, economic and political status of women and ensure that the future of children is protected by lauding the setting up of the Asean Commission on the Protection of the Rights of Women and Children at the Asean Summit in Hanoi in April.

Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil said Malaysia recognised the importance of the setting up of a special commission to address issues of women and children.

Women in Malaysia can also heave a sigh of relief with all the opportunities and benefits provided by the government through the 2011 Budget announced by Najib on Oct 15.

Among interesting benefits was the announcement that female civil servants would now be entitled to fully-paid maternity leave, not exceeding 90 days, as compared to the current 60 days.

The government has also allocated RM30 million to increase women's participation in entrepreneurship, including the soon-to-be introduced Single Mother Skills Incubator Programme, and organise the Perdana Entrepreneur Award and Women Activist Award, in conjunction with Women's Day celebrations next year.

In his budget speech, Najib, who is also finance minister, said the government had paved the way and opened up opportunities for qualified women to hold top positions in the civil service whereby, at the end of last year, the percentage of women holding top positions in the public sector reached 30.5 per cent.

Focus was also given to women with disabilities, with the implementation of a pilot programme known as 'Small Office Home Office' where they were allowed to work from home for three months to acquire skills in various fields.

In a bid to help less fortunate women obtain quality early care and the education of children, the government will also build and re-brand 40 1Malaysia Childcare Centres under the supervision of the Social Welfare Department.

In the 10th Malaysia Plan (10MP), the government also provides an opportunity for women to improve themselves through various programmes to increase women's labour participation rate to 55 per cent by 2015, from the current 46 per cent, besides an opportunity for housewives to work part-time.

The 10MP agendas are relevant in the empowerment of women through the increase in the number of decision-makers, labour participation, assistance for single and low-income mothers and eliminates all forms of discrimination against them.

In the police force, the roles played by women have also become prominently visible as some were appointed to lead police branches and units, in line with the policy to see 30 per cent women's participation in policy-making and decisions.

When announcing the matter in February, the then-inspector-general of police, Tan Sri Musa Hassan, said the population of female police personnel and officers would be increased to 20 per cent from the current 11 per cent, or 11,400 people, within the next five years.

The appointment of Sergeant-Major Fatima Hassan, 53, as the first woman to head a police station in Terengganu is one of the promises fulfilled by the government to provide opportunities for female police personnel to continue to succeed.

Fatima, who had served as the deputy chief of Kampung Raja police station, was appointed as the Kuala Besut police station chief, effective June 2.

On Oct 13, Musa's successor, Tan Sri Ismail Omar, announced the promotion of the first policewoman as a state police chief. Datuk Robiah Abdul Ghani, 57, was appointed the Pahang police chief. She was subsequently appointed Bukit Aman police management director.

There was yet, another 'first' for Malaysian women.

On Dec 7, this year, Bank Negara Malaysia Governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz was named 'Tokoh Ma'al Hijrah'.

Her father, Royal Professor Ungku Aziz, received the award in 1997.

© Copyright 2011 Prime Minister's Office

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