Jakarta (ANTARA) - Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail sought greater engagement and collaboration to ascertain that women from all strata of society can be the vanguard for tackling corruption. "(More engagement and collaboration is needed) to ensure women from all walks of lives have the ability to be at the forefront and centre in our societies to fight corruption,” Wan Azizah stated.

The call was made by Wan Azizah while addressing delegates at an APEC symposium this week in Putrajaya, Malaysia, as noted in a written statement issued by the APEC Secretariat received here on Thursday.

The symposium, organized by the APEC Anti-Corruption and Transparency Working Group and Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy, laid emphasis on advancing the gender perspective and women’s empowerment in the fight against corruption.

"Having been in active politics, not by design but by default for the last two decades, I have witnessed and experienced a whole discourse of women and the need for our empowerment to fight corrupt regimes and practices," Wan Azizah affirmed.

The impact of corruption is far-reaching and devastating. According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the impact of corruption on women can be greater, especially when the currency of bribes comes in the form of sexual extortion.

Corruption in the business regulatory sector also distorts access to credit for women entrepreneurs.

To this end, the Malaysian deputy prime minister highlighted the role of education, advocacy, and awareness programs to boost women’s participation at the community level.

Furthermore, Wan Azizah stated that a sound understanding of the rights and existing laws play a central role in building an ecosystem that does not tolerate corruption.

"For us to have an effective plan to fight corruption faced by women, we need an intensive, bottom-up approach of engaging women from various stratum of societies," she emphasized.

"Establishment of clear lines of whistle-blowing and safe spaces for women to report corruption with clear channels for redressing incidents is central to this effort and initiative," she explained.

Wan Azizah reiterated Malaysia’s commitment to fighting corruption and empowering women to lead this effort, including the launch of 115 initiatives under Malaysia’s anti-corruption plan in 2019 and having a woman to lead the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, Latheefa Koya, concurrently the chair of the APEC Anti-Corruption and Transparency Experts Working Group.

"At the APEC level, we need to advocate inclusivity by having more grassroots women in domestic anti-corruption programmes and policy development," Wan Azizah emphasized.

Moreover, she called for more cross-border engagement and sharing of best practices between women’s groups and agencies to facilitate capacity building.

Anti-corruption and law enforcement officials began their meeting in Putrajaya, Malaysia, on Wednesday (Feb 12) to encourage cross-border cooperation in the fight against corruption, bribery, and money laundering as well as advance measures in combating illicit trade.

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Reporter: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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