KUALA LUMPUR • Public-listed companies (PLCs) in Malaysia that do not have women on their boards of directors will be named and shamed from next year, said Prime Minister Najib Razak.
He said he is keen to see women forming 30 per cent of all directors in the private sector.
"As of December last year, we had 16.8 per cent of women on the boards of directors of PLCs," a shortage of 13.2 percentage points, he said in a speech at a public dialogue on Monday.
"I have given the warning that next year, we will publish the list of PLCs that do not have women on their boards of directors. We will name and shame these companies."
He said he could also threaten the "really recalcitrant" companies that they would not be awarded government contracts. "That way, I believe, there will be a dramatic change in women representation on boards of directors," he said to thunderous applause.
In his speech, Datuk Seri Najib also highlighted the progress of women in the past few years. Malaysia's female labour force participation had risen to 54.3 per cent last year, against 46.4 per cent when he first took office in 2008.
In education, 64 per cent of students in public tertiary institutions were women last year, against 59.7 per cent in 2007.
"These are among the achievements and progress made by Malaysian women that prove the saying 'when women succeed, a nation will also succeed'."
The public dialogue was held under the TN50 or Transformasi Nasional 50 programme, a government-initiated project to discuss the future direction of Malaysia in the next 50 years. It replaces the Vision 2020 plan mooted by former premier turned opposition chief Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
At the dialogue, 18 women from different target groups under the purview of the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry spoke on their hopes for TN50.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK