History was made in 2020 when Pengerang MP Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said was appointed as Deputy Dewan Rakyat (Parliament) Speaker, the first time the post was given to a woman in the country.
Now reports are suggesting that Azalina, 57, is about to be elected as the first female Parliament speaker.
The Women’s Aid Organization (WAO) told GoodNews that the proposal had merit and it would champion women’s rights.
A female speaker would also go a long way in realising that vision, where women’s voices grow louder in Parliament and more policies and law amendments are debated with those voices.
Azalina, holds a Masters of Laws (LLM) from the London School of Economics, Bachelor of Laws (LLB) from Universiti Malaya, and Diploma of Syariah Law from the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM).
She has extensive experience in handling civil claim cases related to corporate and commercial banking, Azalina was accepted into the Malaysian Bar Council in 1989 and had served as a special advisor for the government on women’s affairs.
She was also the first woman appointed as Youth and Sports Minister on March 30, 2004, before taking the helm of the Tourism Ministry in March 2008. Azalina had also managed the Parliament affairs while she was the chairperson of the Parliamentary Women’s Caucus in 2013, and served as the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of law.
Interestingly enough, Azalina has been making headlines recently for wanting more political impartiality, opposition involvement (even asking that an opposition MP be made deputy speaker) and that the Federal Constitution and standing orders of the Lower House be upheld at all costs.
This has also resulted in DAP (opposition party) to publicly declare its support for Azalina as the next Dewan Rakyat Speaker, saying the party is willing to discuss parliamentary reforms with her if she puts her name down for the post.