KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Public-listed companies (PLC) in Malaysia that do not have any woman on their boards of directors will be named and shamed, said Prime Minister Najib Razak.
He said this was so that the target of having 30 per cent women directors in the private sector could be achieved.
"As of December last year, we have 16.8 per cent of women on the boards of directors of PLCs. We are short by 13.2 per cent,'' he said in a speech at a TN50 dialogue on Monday (Sept 4).
"I have given 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.
"I can also threaten them by not giving government contracts for the really recalcitrant companies.
"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, Najib highlighted the progress of women's development and achievements in the past few years.
He said female labour force participation had increased to 54.3 per cent last year, compared to 46.4 per cent when he first took office in 2008.
"As for education, we have 64 per cent of women in public tertiary education institutions as of 2016, compared to 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'."
Eighteen women from different target groups under the purview of the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry spoke on their hopes and aspirations for TN50.
Among the suggestions were a need to increase allocations for various women's aid organisations and programmes and to amend the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act to re-include the proposed Section 88A, which was meant to prevent unilateral conversion of minors.
Najib said a two-third majority was needed for any amendments to be made to the Federal Constitution, and he did not have the majority required as yet.
He said his administration was bound by the Constitution despite calls for the ban, that was dropped from the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) (Amendment) Bill passed recently.
Najib also took the opportunity to hit out at the opposition over their calls to abolish the Goods and Services Tax (GST), saying to do so would mean a great loss of revenue.