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UMNO lawyer under fire for remarks on women leaders

Mohd Hafarizam Harun, a legal advisor from Malaysia’s ruling party UMNO, has drawn flak for his views on women as chief ministers, amid growing speculation that opposition leader Wan Azizah Wan Ismail may take over as chief minister of Selangor.

KUALA LUMPUR: A legal advisor from Malaysia’s ruling party UMNO has drawn flak for his views on women as chief ministers, amid growing speculation that opposition leader Wan Azizah Wan Ismail may take over as chief minister of Selangor, Malaysia's most industrialised state.

UMNO lawyer Mohd Hafarizam Harun reportedly said that a woman cannot take over as Selangor chief minister because of her menstruation cycle. According to him, a woman chief minister having her period would be problematic, as she would not be able to accompany the state's royal ruler to religious functions.

He added that this is why Selangor has never had a woman chief minister, even though the constitution only calls for the chief minister to be a Malay Muslim.

Mohd Hafarizam's comments have sparked outrage - online and on the streets - from both men and women alike.

UMNO's women's wing has not commented on the controversy, while the women's youth wing has distanced itself from the party lawyer's statement, calling it Mohd Hafarizam's personal opinion.

Not all are happy with the president of the People's Justice Party at the helm of the state of Selangor.

Some feel Wan Azizah may serve as a puppet, while her husband, opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, pulls the strings.

The Selangor branch of Islamic party PAS also said the party has not reached a stage where it wants a woman to lead the state. 

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