Gender Quotas Database

Country Data



Malaysia (Malaysia)

Malaysia (Malaysia) has a Bicameral parliament with the use of voluntary party quotas. 30 of 222 (14%) seats in the Dewan Rakyat / House of Representatives are held by women.

At a glance

Structure of Parliament: Bicameral

Are there legislated quotas...

  • For the Single/Lower House? No
  • For the Upper House? No
  • For the Sub-National Level?

Are there voluntary quotas...

  • Adopted by political parties? Yes

Is there additional information?...

  • Yes

Last updated: Mar 16, 2023

Single/Lower House

Dewan Rakyat / House of Representatives

Total seats 222
Total Women 30
% Women 14%
Election Year 2022
Electoral System FPTP
Quota Type
Election details IDEA Voter Turnout - IPU Parline

Upper House

Dewan Negara / Senate

Total seats 55
Total Women 10
% Women 18%
Election Year 2020
Electoral System
Quota Type No legislated>
Election details IPU Parline
  Legal source Details
Quota type: No legislated
Legal sanctions for non-compliance No data available
Rank order/placement rules No data available

Voluntary Political Party Quotas*

Party Official name Details, Quota provisions
People's Justice Party Parti Keadilan Rakyat [PKR] The statutes regulate that 30 per cent of leadership positions have to be held by women.
Democratic Action Party Parti Tindakan Demokratik [DAP] The party congress reserves 30% of the total quota for female members contesting in the elections (Art. 16 under Clause VIII).

* Only political parties represented in parliament are included. When a country has legislated quotas in place, only political parties that have voluntary quotas that exceed the percentage/number of the national quota legislation are presented in this table.

Additional Information

The percentage of women is calculated from the current number of seats occupied in the parliament. The House of Representatives has 223 statutory seats. The Senate has 70 statutory seats. 

"A focus on gender alone—to the exclusion of intersecting social categories such as ethnicity, socioeconomic and regional background—is not enough. For instance, there are very few women of Indian ethnicity active in Malaysian politics. DAP’sKasthuriraani Patto’s career was spurred by Malaysian Indian women activists like Irene Fernandez who were visible in the public sphere: ‘I could relate to them. We were [after all] minorities in this country. They were women who were put there because of the support of the people’, she recalled in her interview. many constituencies are remote and difficult to access. The nomination of party candidates remains a black box; there are no written rules and women are typically handpicked for strategic reasons. The legislation of minimum 30% women in the party’s selection committee and nominees can make the nomination process more transparent and accountable to a party’s commitment to 30% critical mass. At present, 130 countries have adopted constitutional, electoral or political party gender quotas and the average percentage of women’s political representation in countries that have adopted them is 24.9%.30 Malaysia should be on this list and can certainly benefit from joining it" (Izharuddin 2019).





Additional reading

  • See the latest updates on Malaysia on iKNOW Politics
  • Minjeoung, K., & Amirah, A. (2020). The Progress of Women’s Political Participation in Malaysia comparing with Singapore. Journal of Conflict and Integration, 4(2), 68-95.
  • Elias, J. (2020). Gender Politics and the Pursuit of Competitiveness in Malaysia: Women on Board (1st ed.). Routledge. doi:10.4324/9780429058691
  • Azizah, W. (2002). Women in politics: Reflections from Malaysia. [International IDEA]

Additional reading

Asia | Global

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Disclaimer: Maps presented do not imply on the part of the Institute any judgement on the legal status of any territory or the endorsement of such boundaries, nor does the placement or size of any country or territory reflect the political view of International IDEA. Maps are used in order to add visual clarity to data.