VOXPOP | Wanita Umno chief Shahrizat Abdul Jalil should contest in the 14th General Election, but she owes an explanation on the National Feedlot Corporation (NFC).
This was the general sentiment voiced by Wanita and Puteri Umno delegates met by Malaysiakini at the Umno general assembly at the Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur today.
On Monday, Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi expressed hope that Shahrizat will be given "utmost important position" post GE14, but did not specify what position he meant.
For Rohana Suleiman, the Felda Bukit Aping branch Puteri chief, Shahrizat is her "idol", who "constantly encouraged women to move forward."
"She's an idol, who always encourages women to be stronger, and ready to face challenges. I have no issues with her contesting (in GE14).
"(However) there should be a thorough explanation on issues that crop up, so that the people will understand," she told Malaysiakini.
Sungai Besar Umno committee member Mazatul Akmar Jalil said the party needs Shahrizat, especially to bring forward issues that concern women.
She does not mind the fact that Shahrizat is embroiled in the NFC scandal, as her involvement in politics should be looked at from a "positive angle."
"She should contest, she can voice out women's needs.
"I don't think (Shahrizat's involvement in NFC) will affect votes, as we should approach the matter maturely. A lot of people make mistakes, but what is important is learning from them," she said.
Siti Rohila Ishak, a Wanita Umno delegate from Permatang Pauh, echoed Mazatul's stance.
"I have always supported her (Shahrizat), and this will continue. If she contests in GE14, the Permatang Pauh Wanita wing will have her backing. She has helped the womenfolk a lot.
"The NFC does have its impact, but not that much. We will continue supporting her, no matter what news reports say about her."
For Gua Musang Umno committee member Mastura Harra, meanwhile, Shahrizat has the right "energy" to speak on behalf of the rakyat.
"(NFC) does not matter, she can regain the rakyat's trust," she said.
Shahrizat was the Lembah Pantai MP from 1995 to 2008, before she was defeated by PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar.
Shahrizat also served as the women, family and community development minister, but was forced to resign after being mired in the NFC controversy.
She and her family had been accused of misusing public funds. In 2012, she was cleared by the MACC of having had a hand in awarding the multi-million ringgit project to her family members.