The sky is now their point of view. Some may find gratification in crossing a task off a list, but not this set of women—they’re here to bring forth more positive changes.
Tables were turned during the most recent 14th General Elections. It gave the public hope, for even a potential female prime minister down the road. Hannah Yeoh, now a Member of Parliament (MP) for the Segambut constituency, had her political beginnings at the tender age of 29.
At 34, Hannah has already shown the nation what she’s made of: she became Malaysia’s first female speaker for the Selangor State Assembly, and she was the youngest one to do that as well. Now she’s 41, and currently the Deputy Minister of Women, Family and Community Development.
“It takes a village,” was what Hannah said about being a part of the ministry. A great support system is key, be it from her spouse, family or colleagues, and that’s what kept her going for the past decade.
These days, she counts herself lucky to have even a Sunday to herself. A quick five-minute nap is a luxury. She recalled her earlier days in politics, where she felt as though her youth was robbed; given to public service. “Back then I looked around and people my age were able to sleep in, or travel and I couldn’t,” she lamented.
However, her epiphany came in the form of parenthood. “I’m no longer living for myself. My sense of self-entitlement diminished. When I’m talking about politics, it’s no longer about my future; it’s my children’s,” Hannah divulged.
Each phase presents its own set of unique challenges. Now, being at the federal level means that she no longer champions only her constituency. When asked what her personal goal with her current role is, Hannah was clear and adamant.
“I want children’s right to be taken seriously in Malaysia. We see a lack of enforcement. That’s 30% of the population. Imagine if the children can vote—we’ll all start taking school shoes, bag loads and their rights to remain unmarried seriously.”
Although being a politician has changed Hannah’s life, she’s very humble in nature. Her proudest moments are not those of diplomatic victories but to be able to care for her family.
For a woman that has kept overcoming each obstacle that came her way, she still intends to keep going. There was no going back to where the country was once on the brink of shutting down—and there’s a lot of work to be done. To be able to retire fulfilled is definitely at the top of her list.