BATU PAHAT: Umno needs to take proactive measures to increase the participation of women in the party, especially as candidates in the next general election.
Umno vice president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the time has come for the party to show its appreciation to the roles and sacrifices made by women for the party.
"Wanita Umno has always worked hard for the party, so it is only appropriate that we give them the opportunities to become candidates and show us their capabilities.
"The party needs to put forward more women candidates so that we can fulfill our aim to have 30 per cent women as our policy makers," said Zahid in his speech at the opening of the Parit Sulong Umno division delegates meeting here today.
He said after 60 years of independence, the party and the people will also have to change their mindset and attitudes regarding women.
Zahid, who is Deputy Prime Minister said that he and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak are sincere in wanting to see more women as candidates.
"I fully support any efforts to increase the number of women candidates especially in today's border-less world, where a lot of women have risen to become world leaders like German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi.
"In fact, in Singapore, Halimah Yaakob is contesting the presidential election and InsyaAllah (God-willing) she will be the first woman president of Singapore," said Zahid.
Also present at today's event were Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin, Parit Sulong Umno chief Datuk Zulkurnain Kamisan and Parit Sulong member of Parliament Datuk Dr Noraini Ahmad.
Zahid said in Johor, he hoped that Khaled would find ways to field more women candidates in the appropriate constituency.
"I am giving my full support for Khaled to do so. However, what is more important is to ensure victory for Umno and Barisan Nasional," said Zahid.