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Arau MP Shahidan Kassim said he has no clue why he of all people was picked to oversee the social development of women and children in the country, after being discharged from a molest case three years ago. 

Shahidan said this yesterday amid widespread uproar online and in response to a reporter who was asking why he was included in the committee. Other than needing a representative from the National Alliance administration, the 70-year-old didn’t have the answers. 

“I don’t know,” he said. “I entered when there were no [National Alliance] representatives as yet.”

Shahidan will also be replaced by another man with no track record of supporting women and children in the country, Parit MP Mohd Nizar Zakaria. Nizar is also the chairman of the National Population and Family Development Board, which gives him a little bit more credibility than his colleague. He will join several other committee members including deputy parliament speaker Azalina Othman Said and Islamic party member Nik Muhammad Zawawi.

Mohd Nizar Zakaria. Photo: Nizar Zakaria
Mohd Nizar Zakaria. Photo: Nizar Zakaria

The announcement that Shahidan would be part of the women’s and children’s committee drew backlash from thousands of people including NGOs Women’s Aid Organization and Yayasan Chow Kit for children’s rights.

“In a time when women’s and children’s rights have been significantly set back by the pandemic, it’s important that we appoint credible MPs, with relevant expertise and commitment to child rights and gender equality to the committee,” a statement signed by the NGOs said. 

Other stories to check out:

Three years after molest case, Shahidan Kassim appointed to special women’s and children’s committee

This article, Shahidan doesn’t know why he was picked for women’s and children’s committee, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia’s leading alternative media company.

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