Malaysia to work with OIC to help empower Afghan women, says deputy minister

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Images of women on a beauty salon in the Afghan capital Kabul are seen painted over in a photo taken in September 2021. — Thomson Reuters Foundation pic
Images of women on a beauty salon in the Afghan capital Kabul are seen painted over in a photo taken in September 2021. — Thomson Reuters Foundation pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 25 — Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Kamaruddin Jaafar today said that Malaysia will cooperate with other countries and the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) to help empower Afghan women in their country.

Responding to a question from Datuk Dr Xavier Jeyakumar (Independent-Kuala Langat), who suggested that Malaysia cooperate with OIC and other parties to build “schools for women” or a hospital in the war-torn country, Kamaruddin said woman empowerment has been a problem in Afghanistan, with the World Economic Forum (WEF) global gender gap report index — released right before the Taliban took over in August — placing the country in last place.

“Although the United States and western powers have ruled Afghanistan for 20 years, the situation of women has not improved.

“We need cooperation from other countries to help Afghanistan better help its daughters,” he told Dewan Rakyat today.

Lim Guan Eng (PH-Bagan) had asked the original question on Malaysia’s stance on Afghanistan and asked on the status of Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Datuk Zuraidah Kamaruddin planned visit to Afghanistan to guide the Taliban on women’s rights and empowerment.

The DAP secretary-general also asked whether PAS’ support for the Taliban affected Malaysia’s stance on the issue, to which Kamaruddin said all parties are in the view of overseeing peaceful resolution and want Afghanistan to be rebuilt successfully and that the Foreign Ministry would also act as a mediator for any party including NGOs to send help to the country.

“Ampang has indeed stated and taken steps to meet the Afghan ambassador in Kuala Lumpur. We want to help our friends and our people.”

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