PETALING JAYA: In Malaysia, a Member of Parliament (MP) is more often than not, a senior male.
A closer look at the previous line-up of MPs – now that Parliament has been dissolved – reveals the extent or lack of diversity among MPs in terms of their age, education and gender.
While there has been an increase in the number of women MPs over the years, the pace of change needs to be faster to achieve gender equity.
Similarly, with the voting age now at 18 compared with 21 previously, and with the younger generation being more educated than ever, we need younger MPs to better amplify the voice of youth.
How fast things change will depend on the outcome of polling on Nov 19, as voters select new MPs for the 222-seat Dewan Rakyat at the 15th General Election (GE15).
Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who is contesting for the Langkawi seat, is the oldest candidate in GE15, at 96.
Independent Peggy Chaw Zhi Ting, who is contesting for the Tenom seat, is the youngest parliamentary candidate at 23.
The following shows the breakdown of the GE15 parliamentary seat candidates’ age and gender.
After GE14 in 2018, the average age of an MP was 56.
The youngest person voted into Parliament in that election was Batu’s P. Prabakaran, at 22, with Langkawi’s Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad the oldest at 92 years of age.
The following shows the oldest and youngest MPs earlier this year:
Almost 35% of the MPs who won in GE14 were between 51 and 60 years old, while 29% were between the ages of 61 and 70.
Most of these MPs had a university degree, either locally or abroad.
Below is the breakdown of their academic background:
The following shows the longest-serving MPs:
The Dewan Rakyat has seen a gradual rise in the number of women MPs.
The 14th Parliament, prior to dissolution last month, had 33 women MPs, a 90% increase from the first general election in 1959.