Shahrizat’s bid for top spot irks Wanita Umno leaders

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Sharizat Abdul Jalil’s bid to contest Wanita Umno’s top post has not gone down well with the wing’s leaders, with many saying it gives the impression the wing has run out of fresh talent.

They told The Malaysian Insight this is not the case as there are many who step up to the plate if need be.

The leaders said the line-up under current wing head Noraini Ahmad works well but is not outstanding as Barisan Nasional (BN) has been suffering defeats since the 2018 general election.

Wanita Umno secretary Rosni Sohar said Shahrizat should not contest the post as it gives the impression that the party lacks fresh talent.

Rosni, however, said Shahrizat could serve as an adviser if she wants to be involved in the party.

“We are worried about people’s opinions. It looks like we lack leaders.

“Shahrizat also has been involved in issues before with her husband’s case,” she said.

She was referring to the National Feedlot Corporation Sdn Bhd (NFC) scandal – a cattle-breeding project run by the Shahrizat family, which was the subject of controversy in 2010.

The case cast a bad light on Umno and Shahrizat, who was women, family and community development minister at the time.

“We don’t want it (NFC) to continue to be an issue. Let the women’s wing continue with the leadership of Noraini, and Shahrizat can return as an adviser,” Rosni said.

Yesterday, Shahrizat said she was going for the top post again.

The former Lembah Pantai MP, who helmed the wing between 2008 and 2018, submitted her nomination form at the Umno headquarters.

Shahrizat said she wants to strengthen Wanita Umno.

“We have to be inclusive, and we have to be there as mothers of the nation for each and every one of the people, as we have for many years,” she was quoted as saying.

She said her supporters encouraged her to return and contest the post.

It was reported earlier that 147 Wanita Umno division heads called for Shahrizat to lead the women’s wing again.

Rosni said Shahrizat’s bid shows that Wanita Umno is going backwards at a time when the wing needs to be strengthened and look ahead.

The change of leaders will certainly affect Umno’s chance to recoup its losses in the six upcoming state elections, she said.

“We have a few more months to face the state elections but we are still in shock from our earlier dismal outing. Most important is the perception of the people, because they will judge us by our leadership.

“What we need to do is change people’s perception. But now we want to change the leadership, (Shahrizat’s challenge) is showing that we are going backwards.”

Terengganu Wanita Umno leader Zaitun Mat Amin said Shahrizat’s bid contradicts her previous stance to retire and hand the mantle to Noraini.

“We should not see the women’s wing as lacking leaders.

“What I said does not mean Wanita disrespects Shahrizat, we respect her very much. But for us there is no need for Shahrizat to compete again.”

Zaiton rejected claims that Noraini is a weak leader and that it is the reason Wanita Umno is not able to excel.

She said it is unfair to compare Shahrizat’s tenure with Noraini’s as both held the position of Wanita chief in different situations.

Shahrizat headed the chapter when BN flew high, while Noraini helms the wing as BN continues to suffer losses.

“It’s not about leadership, but our status as the opposition. If we lose, we have no position, no power and face financial problems.

“Of course, there are weaknesses and shortcomings compared with (the wing’s performance during) Shahrizat’s reign, when it was at its peak because we were in government.

“It was easy to manage grassroots activities and support members, compared with Noraini’s (capabilities now that) BN has nothing,” she said, saying even now, BN only controls part of the government.

Political analyst Mazlan Ali believes Shahrizat will have a difficult time returning to the Wanita Umno helm.

He said Noraini is known as a leader loyal to party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, while Shahrizat is still burdened by her family scandal.

“Though Shahrizat was not involved in the NFC (scandal), it was an issue that the opposition used to attack the government at the time.

“Her record is not like Rafidah Aziz’s, who shone and ended her career and is still respected by the people.

“Shahrizat had to give up because of her family scandal,” he said. – TMI