KUALA LUMPUR, 4 Dec 2008: Wanita Umno vice-chief Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil said her decision to contest the post of Wanita Umno chief at the party polls next March should not jeopardise her relationship with incumbent Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz.
“It’s just a contest and we have a code of ethics to follow. We should not let it affect our relationship.
“Let’s just contest in a courteous manner,” she told reporters after officiating the national symposium on the formation of a fair, stable and happy family here today.
This was Sharizat’s first remarks on the subject after announcing her decision to take on Rafidah for the movement’s number one post on 20 Nov.
Her decision has scuttled Rafidah’s transition plan to hand over the post to her (Shahrizat) next June, and thus caused Rafidah to accept the 117 nominations she received to defend the post.
Asked whether she was confident of winning the contest, Shahrizat said she would leave it to the grassroots to decide.
“In a competition, it is normal for someone to win and another to lose. We cannot force the delegates to choose us. I respect all Wanita members and I am sure they will choose the candidate who they think could lead the movement in the new millennium,” she said.
On her current relationship with Rafidah, Shahrizat said all was well.
She said her decision to contest was to reinstate the strong spirit of Malay women to fight for their rights and their families so that they would not be left out from the nation’s development.
“I want to help Wanita Umno to reinstate its spirit, to be the voice in women’s struggles and fight for women’s rights, family, economy and health.
“What women want right now differs from before. We must champion the women and family issues or else we will be left out and the people will turn to another party,” she said.
Meanwhile, in her speech at the symposium, Shahrizat said Muslim women should be united and brave in voicing out their opinions and defending their rights.
She said, through the Muslim Women Protection and Empowerment Secretariat which would be launched early next year, it was hoped the women’s struggle for justice and gender equality would be achieved.
The symposium, organised by Sisters In Islam, Muslim Women’s Rights Federation and Joint Action Group For Gender Equality, was aimed at discussing and studying the implementation of government policies and its impact on Muslim women in Malaysia. — Bernama