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An Article From Vicinity Perak - Perakean Women For Independence - Volume 2 Issue 12, September 2006

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Subject :An Article from Vicinity Perak - Perakean Women for Independence - Volume 2 Issue 12, September 2006
Published By : Published by Vicinity Media Corporation Sdn Bhd 
Location : Ipoh, Perak
Estimated Year : 2006
Media Type : Article
Source : Vicinity Media Corporation Sdn Bhd
Remark :

Viewed left to right, top to bottom.

Many extraordinary women in this nation have played significant roles in the years leading to Merdeka. The women in this country had to rise to the occasion and become resourceful and brave when the Japanese occupation (1941-1945) robbed them of their men. These women began to enter public life and change their social standards when they formed social and political organisations generally against Malayan Union. They even organised and conducted some of the political gatherings. These women felt the need to liberate themselves and move forward along with other communities and this was given recognition by the Malay rulers and leaders.

The confederation of Kumpulan Kaum Ibu into independent organisations later brought about the creation of Pergerakan Kaum Ibu UMNO (renamed Pergerakan Wanita) in 1949 when the party realised the importance of a permanent women’s auxiliary body. Its leader Puteh Mariah was a dedicated and feisty who took this body to greater heights and she fought for women’s rights thus creating new ventures for women in many areas.

Kaum Ibu also provided classes for betterment of its women and this resulted in some of them being appointed to senior party positions. Kaum Ibu was renamed Wanita UMNO in 1971 and they are still going strong today. Puan Sri Uma Sambanthan’s contribution to Malayan women is unforgettable. Through the Women’s Institution, she improved the socio-economic status of rural women. She believes that a true a Malaysian identity will be achieved when polarisation of races is eradicated.

Ngai C O adds:

"As the photo op showed, it was an all women affair.

Digressing from this a bit, there were two strong and independent minded Malay women, Kadijah Sidek and Samsiah Fakeh. Kadijah was later ousted from UMNO. Samsiah joined the Communsit Party of Malaya.

Malaysian women on the whole are still fighting for their rights as they are held back by many barriers."

Ipoh Remembered responds:

"Dear Ngai C O …
I’m glad you named those two women – and there were others like them.

In post-war Malaya, for a number of reasons women began to assert their rights in ways they had not done before. They saw three forces holding them back: class privilege and “tradition” within their own ethnic communities; male intransigence; and colonial power.

Kaum Ibu, mentioned above, was not the first women’s group – nor did it try to contend with all three oppressive forces.

Whereas other Malay women had earlier formed a more radical movement, including elements that attempted to transcend communal (or racial) politics. This women’s movement was founded in Ipoh and it had a few successful years but, partly because it was not strongly united, by 1948 the powers-that-be had marginalised and overcome it.:

To see a summary of ‘Perak Resistance During the Japanese Occupation’, click here.

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