Malaysia

Don’t be ‘armchair critics’, Shahrizat tells Wanita Umno dissidents

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal
April 08, 2012

Outgoing minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil attending her final function at the Wilayah mosque, April 8, 2012. — Pic by Jack OoiOutgoing minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil attending her final function at the Wilayah mosque, April 8, 2012. — Pic by Jack Ooi

Shahrizat dismissed claims and complaints that her wing was not getting its act together for the next general elections, and stressed that she "made sure" Wanita Umno did its job properly.

"These people must learn not to become armchair critics. Take a good look around and you will find out how strong Wanita Umno is.

"Do not comment from Kuala Lumpur...come with me to the grassroots and you will see," she told reporters here, in her final press conference as Senator and federal minister.

Shahrizat was commenting on remarks made by Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz as well as her deputy Datuk Kamilia Ibrahim.

Rafidah, a former Wanita Umno chief has recently expressed worry and concern about the party wing's future, saying that it needed to get its act together and work towards solidifying Barisan Nasional support for the general election.

Both Rafidah and Kamilia have frequently spoken out against Shahrizat, who has been repeatedly linked to the National Feedlot Centre (NFC) controversy, demanding the latter relinquish her position as Wanita Umno chief as well, apart from her posts as senator and minister.

"I am not confrontational but I am firm. I know what I want for Wanita Umno.

"Things can be done without burning one's bra," she stressed.

Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced yesterday that he will take over Shahrizat’s women, family and community development portfolio effective today.

The prime minister’s announcement puts an end to speculation over whether Shahrizat’s deputy and most vocal critic in Wanita Umno, Kamilia, would be appointed senator to assume the ministerial post.

Shahrizat announced on March 11 that she would step down as women, family and community development minister when her term as senator expires tomorrow.

Her announcement came after nearly five months of allegations that she and her family had used a RM250 million government soft-loan earmarked for the NFC cattle-farming project to pay for personal expenses, among other things.

The National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp), a company run by Shahrizat’s family that supervises the NFC, hit national headlines last year after the company made it into the Auditor-General’s Report last year for missing production targets.