Malaysians, in general, do not know much about Chinese women politicians. So it is too with Dr Ng Yen Yen ... until now that is. Most MCA Wanita leaders are given a token post as deputy minister and they soon fade away. But watch out for Yen Yen – in her brief tenure as tourism minister, she is already stealing the thunder in Hong Kong.
In a Bernama report headlined ‘Ng Yen Yen steals thunder at women's forum’, the national news agency applauded the tourism minister’s presentation at the Asia Pacific Women's Forum 2009 in Hong Kong Saturday.
It was very well received by the participants and there was resounding applause for the minister’s speech at the forum, the agency reported.
The presentation of Malaysia's first Chinese woman minister was titled "Bound for Beauty: Political Participation for Rights and Freedom". It traced Malaysian women's achievements in politics and the obstacles and challenges they had to face.
Challenging times for women
Dr Ng told the forum that since the 80s, Malaysian women had been fighting for equitable rights and succeeded in getting Parliament to pass the Domestic Violence Act.
Ng's political journey began in 1986 and she steadily rose up the ranks, becoming deputy minister and was elected as Wanita MCA chief in 1999. MCA, a Chinese-based political party, is the second largest political party in Malaysia after Umno.
Ng is also a political fighter and will rise to the challenge if necessary. On one occasion, her deputy in Wanita MCA Dr Tan Yew Kew mounted a challenge for her post. She trounced Tan in the contest, burying Tan’s political career in the MCA along the way. Tan is now with the opposition PKR.
In 2008, Dr Ng contested for the post of vice-president of MCA and won, beating several male candidates in the process.
She was appointed tourism minister last year, becoming the first Chinese woman minister in the country.
Dr Ng holds a Bachelor of Medicine, Surgery (University of Malaya) and a Diploma of Reproductive Medicine (John Hopkins University, USA.
She is married to Dr Chin Chee Sue and the couple is blessed with three sons. They are also proud grandparents to their only grandson.
Lead Chinese women
In Malaysia where politicians should be multi-lingual, Dr Ng is well versed in English, Mandarin, Bahasa Malaysia, Hokkien and Cantonese.
The tourism portfolio will probably see Dr Ng on many assignments overseas. She had just returned home from India to promote ‘Malaysia My Second Home programme’ and had to leave for Hong Kong for the Asia Pacific Women's Forum within 24 hours.