Report: Sabah-born Penny Wong among two Malaysian-born politicians making headway in Australian politics


Penny Wong (second right) is seen during a protest against sexual violence and gender inequality in Australia’s capital city Canberra. — AFP photos

KUCHING (May 23): Two Malaysian-born politicians have made a headway in the Australian federal election, reported The Star.

Veteran senior politician Penny Wong was sworn in as foreign minister on Monday (May 23) under the Labor government of Anthony Albanese.

The news portal reported that, Wong, who is a law and arts graduate from the University of Adelaide was born in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, and then moved to Australia in 1976 as an eight-year-old with her mother.

Before entering politics, Wong worked for a union, as a ministerial adviser in the New South Wales Labor government, and as a lawyer.

Wong was elected senator in 2001 and in 2008, and became the first Asian-born member of an Australian Cabinet when she served as climate change minister in the Kevin Rudd administration.

In 2013, she became the leader of the government in the Senate and later, after the change of government, she was appointed the leader of the opposition in the Senate.

She is the first woman to hold these roles.

Meanwhile, Sam Lim, 60, won the MP’s seat of Tangney in western Australia.

The Star reported that the Johor-born Lim was a former dolphin trainer and a policeman who was awarded Officer of the Year at the Nine News Police Excellence Awards in December 2020 for his role with multicultural communities during the Covid-19 pandemic.

His victory over Ben Morton, an adviser to former prime minister Scott Morison, was a surprise, according to media reports.

The West Australian news site reported that the Lim and his group of family and friends were gathered at Mount Pleasant Bowling Club when the results were announced, but he almost missed it.

“I had a runny nose and was blowing my nose in the bathroom. When I came out, someone hugged me and tried to throw me in the air, and I was thinking to myself ‘What is happening’,” he was quoted as saying.

Lim, 60, was once with the Malaysian police force.

“I served for two years as a police constable before leaving to become a dolphin trainer,” he said on his website.

In 2002, he migrated to Australia with his wife and three children.

He joined the Western Australia Police Academy in 2006.

Two years ago, he was awarded “police officer of the year” for his work with multicultural communities during the Covid-19 pandemic.