PUTRAJAYA, 21 Nov 2008: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi wants the contest for Wanita Umno top post to take place in an orderly manner based on democratic practice and without causing a split within the movement.
It would be better, however, if there was no contest for the post, he said.
He acknowledged that a contest was now inevitable after Wanita Umno chief Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz and vice-chief Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil decided to let the members choose who should be the movement’s leader.
“If they want to contest, then go ahead and contest in a proper way, don’t resort to money politics… let the members decide,” he told reporters after the ground-breaking ceremony for the National Defence Studies Centre project here.
Abdullah said he had yet to meet Rafidah or Shahrizat but hoped to be able “to have a chat with them.”
“I hope everything will go on smoothly. It will be good if there is no contest but now that there is a contest, it should be carried out in an orderly manner. This is not necessarily a bad thing,” he said.
Abdullah said this when asked to comment on the situation in Wanita Umno following an announcement by Shahrizat yesterday that she would go for the movement’s number one post in the March party elections.
Rafidah, who obtained 117 nominations as opposed to Shahrizat’s 73, declared today that she would defend the post.
Abdullah hoped that the contest would not split Wanita Umno and that the movement members would make it a point not to let the contest divide them.
“This is important. If they love Umno, they should not let the contest to cause animosity among them as this will weaken the party. They must remember this,” he said.
Abdullah said that he “would be there” if his counsel was needed.
“At the moment though it seems that they really want to face it, to challenge each other,” he said.
Asked whether he would meet Rafidah and Shahrizat, Abdullah said, he would think about it.
He said could not see them today as he had just returned from a visit overseas.
“When I returned last night, I heard that Shahrizat already made a statement. Then, today, Rafidah made a statement.
“Both of them are experienced leaders and know a lot about Wanita. I think the members also know them well… they know who to vote for,” he said. — Bernama