Penang’s women lead local democracy


A unique electoral exercise in Penang state, promoting  participatory and gender-responsive decision-making at the grassroots level, may serve as a cue for the revival of local elections in Malaysia.

Polling under the gender-responsive pilot project
A child casts his vote as an election observer monitors the process

Over three consecutive days, ending 23 September, low-income residents of high-rise flats on River Road, Penang Island, cast ‘ballots’ to compellingly indicate to planners their priorities.

Penang state consists of two parts – Penang Island, where the seat of government is, and Seberang Perai on the Malay peninsula. With a population of 1.5 million people Penang is an economically important state with a thriving tourist industry and port.

Before the polls, organisers had carried out a detailed census of 530 homes in  and found 1,667 eligible ‘voters’ (aged 10 and above) in the two participating blocks.

The residents, divided into five focus groups, discussed six key priorities for final polling: building maintenance (lifts, water pipes, roof leakages), cleanliness of common areas, recreational amenities, parking areas, better security and awareness raising programmes.

On the polling days, volunteers handed out booklets containing five coupons of token money – each coupon representing ‘100 ringgit′. The residents then cast these five coupons in one or more of six boxes laid out in a row – each box representing one of the six pre-identified priorities.

Full article in IPS website.

Please help to support this blog if you can.

Read the commenting guidlelines for this blog.
Notify of

Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Gerakan K
Gerakan K
2 Oct 2012 11.28am

Ha ha ha hee hee hee ha ha ha hee hee hee ~

Small kids (aged 10 and above) still believing in Tooth Fairy story. Those small children can think and decide ???

Ha ha ha hee hee hee ha ha ha hee hee hee ~ From aliran mini local election to small kids KIDDING local election !!! What happens to Penang since 308 ???!!!

What happens to our women and democracy ??? Kitchen still the best place for women to show their natural skills and competencies !!!

2 Oct 2012 10.07pm
Reply to  Gerakan K

You may be against the PR govt, their party and their leaders and that is all fine but I don’t see why you have to be against women and their participation in democratic processes. I may be wrong, but I assume you too have a mother. Just because many in Malaysia are housewives does not mean they do not have a brain. In fact many housewives can think far better than most of our politicians on both sides of the divide, most of which are men.