Empower Women to Fight Corruption: Dr Wan Azizah

Putrajaya, Malaysia, 13 February 2020
  • Issued by the APEC Secretariat

Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail called for more engagement and collaboration “to ensure women from all walks of lives have the ability to be at the forefront and centre in our societies to fight corruption” when addressing delegates at an APEC symposium this week in Putrajaya, Malaysia.

The symposium, organized by the APEC Anti-Corruption and Transparency Working Group and Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy, focused on advancing thegender perspective and women empowerment in the fight against corruption.

“Having been in active politics, not by design but by default for the last two decades, I have witnessed and experienced a whole discourse of women and the need for our empowerment to fight corrupt regimes and practices,” said Dr Wan Azizah.

The impact of corruption is far-reaching and devastating. According to the United Nations Development Programme, the impact of corruption on women can be greater, especially when the currency of bribes comes in the form of sexual extortion. Corruption in business regulatory sector also distorts access to credit for women entrepreneurs.

Dr Wan Azizah highlighted the role of education, advocacy and awareness programs to improve women’s participation at the community level. In addition, she said that a good understanding of the rights and existing laws play a central role in building an ecosystem that does not tolerate corruption.

“For us to have an effective plan to fight corruption faced by women, we need an intensive bottom-up approach of engaging women from various stratum of societies,” she added. “Establishment of clear lines of whistleblowing and safe spaces for women to report corruption with clear channels for redressing incidents is central to this effort and initiative.”

She went on to explain Malaysia’s commitment to fighting corruption and empowering women to lead this effort, including the launch of 115 initiatives under Malaysia’s anti-corruption plan in 2019 and having a woman to lead the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, Latheefa Koya, who is also the Chair of the APEC Anti-Corruption and Transparency Experts Working Group.

“At the APEC level, we need to advocate inclusivity by having more grassroots women in domestic anti-corruption programmes and policy development,” Dr Wan Azizah urged.

On top of that, she called for more cross-border engagement and sharing of best practices between women’s groups and agencies to facilitate capacity building.

Anti-corruption and law enforcement officials begin their meeting in Putrajaya, Malaysia on Wednesday to promote cross-border cooperation in the fight against corruption, bribery, money laundering and advance measures in combatting illicit trade.

# # #

For further details, please contact:

Masyitha Baziad +65 9751 2146 at mb@apec.org
Michael Chapnick +65 9647 4847 at mc@apec.org

More on APEC meetings, events, projects and publications can be found on www.apec.org. You can also follow APEC on Twitter and join us on FacebookLinkedIn.