KOTA KINABALU, 14 Oct 2008: A Wanita Umno division in Sabah has called for an early leadership transition between Wanita Umno chief Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz and her deputy Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil.
The move it said will help to strengthen the movement ahead of the coming general election.
Kalabakan Wanita Umno chief Datuk Hamisa Samat said the power transition should now take place in March, and not in June 2009, to enable Shahrizat to assume the full power as Wanita Umno chief.
Hamisa said that if the movement was to stick to the power transition plan in June 2009, it would mean that Shahrizat would be holding the post of Wanita Umno chief on an acting basis as her position could only be endorsed at the next general assembly in 2011.
The situation would put the movement without a leader for long period, she said in a statement.
“Wanita Umno should already have a new leader by March next year and not in 2011.
“This is not to say that we are rejecting Rafidah’s credibility and leadership calibre… we are making this call for the sake of the party,” she said.
Hamisa was commenting on the move by several Wanita Umno divisions in Sabah to nominate Shahrizat for the movement’s top post despite the June 2009 transition plan agreed by Rafidah and Shahrizat.
The divisions are Kalabakan, Sepanggar, Kinabatangan and Kota Belud.
Shahrizat has so far received 12 nominations for the post of Wanita Umno chief compared to Rafidah’s 52 nominations.
Hamisa said Wanita Umno should listen to the voices of the grassroots who wanted to see changes in the movement.
“The June 2009 transition plan is no longer suitable. We don’t want Shahrizat to lead the movement on an acting basis. We want her to have the full power,” she said.
Rafidah has denied that she was considering an earlier power transition to Shahrizat, saying she would stick to the plan agreed by both of them.
Shahrizat had also said that she had no plan to contest the top post and would instead defend her current position. — Bernama