Many writers have commented on the crisis developing within pergerakan wanita UMNO(Wanita). The UMNO general public seems to think trouble is brewing up. wanita members themselves are divided on the issue.
The main source of disquiet seems to be centred around the position of ketua wanita. Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, won her general elections. She has stated that she will hand over the post of ketua in June 2009. The recipient will be Dato Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil. She, as we will remember, lost in the general elections to Nurul Izzah Anwar Ibrahim. We have no reasons to believe that Kak Fidah will renege on her promise. That is not in keeping with her character. .
Leaders of wanita agreed on the handing over. This is also in keeping with the handing over of leadership between Pak Lah and Najib.
Two of Sakmongkol’s friends from wanita Pahang have given conflicting opinions. The ketua wanita for Pahang, the feisty Maznah Mazlan has questioned why Shahrizat is now having reservations about the handover date. Maznah says, the Pahang wanita is sticking to the plan and it supports Rafidah. The next day, the deputy wanita UMNO Pahang, the equally feisty and headstrong Dato Rosni Zahari said, that was Maznah’s personal statement. It did not reflect the stand of wanita Pahang as a whole. Therefore in Pahang, you see two camps emerging. Those supporting Rafidah and those supporting shahrizat. Sakmongkol is sure, the situation in other divisions is the same.
Rafidah has secured more nominations than Shahrizat for the ketua wanta post. She may ask, why should she, as the one receiving more nominations give in to shahrizat, who got less nominations? If she asks this question, then she wants to be technical. It also reflects her insistence and personal steadfastness.
If she insists on handing over in June, 3 moths after the UMNO elections, then it is a matter of personal choice. She wants everyone to know, that she is imposing her will. She is also sending the message, that wanita is what she wills it to be. It is a reflection of her personal strengths.
Many months earlier, the wanita exco and a majority of wanita members, supported the handover date. It is supposed to be in June 2009. everyone appeared agreeable to the date. The main protagonists were also in agreement.
What happens after that?
The fact that Shahrizat got nominations even after a very public endorsement of the handover date, suggests that the idea was not universally accepted by the wanita rank and file. A large number wants Rafidah not only to pass on the leadership to Shahrizat but to do it sooner. Sooner here means, in March, the same time as Dato Najib’s ascension to leadership of UMNO.
Why was the handover idea mooted in the first place? Was it because it is in line with Pak Lah’s passing of the baton to DS Najib? Was it prompted by a desire to see some uniformity in UMNO? Or was the idea, in the first place a means to own up to some semblance of responsibility over the disastrous showing by UMNO? If that is so, than Rafidah should not be the only person to do so.
The idea of agreeing to the handover may perhaps be part of a larger plan to keep the status quo. The idea of ketua wanita nominations is to be divided between Rafidah and Sahrizat ONLY, may suggest, that wanita is adopting a closed shop policy. It was all a problem prevention strategy. It does not want nominations to go to another 3rd person. That seems to be a strategic step- Shahrizat ensures that no other nominations are made for the ketua post except between her and Rafidah. And at the same time, the nominations for the deputy wanita posts are divided between here and Kamilia from Perak. Plugging holes for the chief and deputy posts, ensures wanita status quo is preserved.
Closed to whom? Closed to a 3rd person and that 3rd person, sakmongkol suspects is Azalina Othman Said aka the ‘Problem’. The current number 1 and no 2 in Wanita are unified in their agreement, that no nominations must go to Azalina what more the possibility of Azalina passing the quota for nominations for any posts.
That was the 1st stage. Now that the house is cleaned from possible disturbance, lets put the house in order. The first order of the day is let’s start revising the handing over date. Now that pesky Azalina is out of the equation, can we revise the hand over date? If Shahrizat wanted this, she should have intimated this to Rafidah. Or perhaps, out of deference, Sharizat was banking to allow Rafidah to come to her rational sense and accept the practicality of an earlier handing over date. Unfortunately, Rafidah is not to let her rational self be taken advantage of.
Which brings us to the issue of practicality.
What practical value does Rafidah see in insisting on the June handover? Other than treating it as a spectacle to showcase the imposition of her personal will, manifestation of her ego or what have you, perhaps there is some other value that Rafidah attaches to the June handover. Maybe it is something like this. Come March 2009, God willing, DS Najib becomes the UMNO president and PM of
But she must also factor in the other common and practical sense. If Shahrizat is given the post only in June, she will just be an acting ketua wanita chief. Actually, that shouldn’t be a thorny issue- whether acting or otherwise, you are the de-facto wanita chief. But more important, will a new acting wanita chief who does not have a parliamentary seat, be given a cabinet post? Without a position in the cabinet, Shahrizat is not only an acting wanita chief but also a lame duck one. Kak Fidah must analyse this. Is the wanita chief without a cabinet post, good for wanita?