I still remember in 2009 when Shahrizat, after months of stating she would not contest against the incumbent Wanita UMNO (Woman Wing) Head, Rafidah Aziz, surprised many by doing just the opposite. She won and there was some bitterness expressed by the older lady and those in her camp. Apparently members from certain states like Sabah in East Malaysia were unhappy with Rafidah who was then a rather outspoken Head and must have ruffled a few feathers. As the Minister of International Trade, she was also accused of corrupt practices in the issuance of AP (Approved Permits) for importing foreign cars to Malaysia.
After a fiery and often brash Rafidah, Shahrizat is an angel; diplomatic and knows how to endear herself to people especially Wanita UMNO members. After winning the contest, she set out to place her supporters in the states and that is what we are seeing now the outpouring of support wherever she goes despite public labelling of her as a tainted politician whose family benefited unfairly from her position in the party and government.
In 2012 she was publicly embroiled with the so called “cowgate” scandal involving her husband and children vis-a-vis the misuse of government soft loan of RM250 million for their own private gain. She maintained that she, as his dutiful wife and their loving mother, had nothing to do with the abuse of fund and had obstinately refused to resign from her ministerial post despite public outcry. She only stepped down when her senatorship was not renewed by Najib who felt the pressure of the widespread contempt.
And yet after all these, PM Najib still appointed her as an Advisor to women’s affairs with a ministerial status , possibly due to intense lobbying from her supporters in Wanita UMNO, much to the unhappiness of the current Minister of Women,Family and Community Development Affairs.
People are just gobsmacked with Shahrizat’s audacity to seek re-election for the post of Head of Wanita UMNO comes October 12. Memang tidak tahu malu,( unable to feel ashamed) and yet thick-faced is not uncommon among politicians. She looked set to win uncontested but for two other contenders. One of them Datuk Maznah Mazlan is a Rafidah’s loyalist and it’s payback time for the latter’s camp.
And so basically it’s all about two camps in the movement. Shahrizat’s blind supporters have wanted her to maintain the status quo at all cost despite her integrity issues. At the grassroots level, though , perception and feelings may be different.
The contest will be won by the candidate who appears to have the support of the leadership and the last minute decisions of fence sitters. For most of us who put good personal character uppermost, the re-election of Shahrizat reflects the absurd mentality of Wanita UMNO.
They consider the woman as a boon to them, failing to appreciate that public contempt of Shahrizat will place their movement in a bad light. She is in fact their bane.