It is now confirmed that Mak Cik Shahrizat will challenge Tok Wan Rafidah for the Wanita UMNO President's post the up coming party election scheduled March 2009. Although Shahrizat is way down in the number of nominations that she had secured for the top post as compared to Rafidah; the increasing voices of support for Shahrizat must have emboldened her to pick up the challenge. With that challenge, Shahrizat had renaged the 'gentlewomen' agreement agreed between her and Rafidah, that the top post ought not to be challenged, in return for a smooth transfer of power for the top post in June 2009.
Although many may argue that Shahrizat has every right to contest, and winning through a popular vote will further heightened her legitimacy to the post; on the contrary, losing the challenge will surely spell disaster for her future political career. Shahrizat may even be rejected from her current post in the Prime Minister's department, which many claimed that she rightly does not deserve.
For one, Rafidah is no pushover when it comes to a serious challenge. She is known for her ferociosity and steadfastness in ensuring things get done her way. I am told that even during a friendly game of golf, losing the game is not something she cherishes, and her opponents knows this only too well. I am told by a retired diplomat who had on several occasions accompanied her for conferences overseas, that when she debates, all ears are on her. In this sense, she had projected Malaysia well at international forums.
The million dollar question being asked by many now is 'why is Rafidah so adament in wanting to relinquish the Wanita UMNO President's post in June 2009?' When Pak Lah has willingly conceded stepping down in March 2009, and without wanting to contest for the UMNO President's post, why is it so different in the case of Rafidah? To say that she wants to have a final test of her popularity before fading out, is certainly incorrect. And to also claim that she wants to ensure that there is no political infighting for the top post, to allow a smooth transition of power in June, may appear dubious.
Rafidah recent statement upon receiving the challenge from Shahrizat 'that she (Rafidah) will stay on for another term if she retains her post' send shivers not only to Shahrizat and her supporters, but an imposing dilemma for Najib who will assume the premiership in March 2009.
Najib most certainly cannot ignore Rafidah if she retains her post, for Rafidah now has the legitimate right to assume a post in Najib's administration. Ignoring Rafidah will have disastrous circumstances to the party, which Najib can ill afford at this critical time in UMNO's fledging history.
Clearly, in the battle for the Wanita UMNO Presidency, it is Shahrizat who will suffer most by picking a challenge against Rafidah, if she (Shahrizat) loses. On the contrary, Rafidah will be even more stronger if she wins. And losing, I believe does not really matter for her at this late age of her political career.
As for PM designate, Najib has Rosmah to confide to, to resolve all possible issues emanating from the Wanita UMNO political tussle.
CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION
Posted at 1.07am aon Nov 22, 2008