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Let me tell you what I think of Rafidah Aziz

Stephen Ng  |  Published:  |  Modified:

COMMENT | Amidst all the headlines that caught my attention, this one quoting Wanita Umno chief Shahrizat Abdul Jalil stands out: “Shahrizat will let people 'judge' Rafidah's attitude”.

When I scanned all the other headlines, I could only make one conclusion: that Umno and Barisan Nasional are losing their lustre to woo the people’s hearts – and their votes!

When Selangor caretaker Menteri Besar Azmin Ali took a Grab home after surrendering his official vehicle, all that Umno deputy information chief Mat Nadzari Ahmad Dahlan could say is that it was a “stunt”.

I also see that it is payback time for Umno, which is also fast losing its support base, with the latest open declaration by former TV3 personality Wardina Safiyyah. I suspect more will be coming out to lash out at Umno and the BN in the weeks leading to the general election.

Even a crown prince got his hands burnt when he made some comments suggesting that we should keep BN in power. Within just one day, I received so many messages that one after another has caused me to even lose my respect for him.

So, when I read Shahrizat’s comments about her predecessor, Rafidah Aziz, I could not help but be among the first to give her a piece of my mind. I see a totally different phenomenon now, compared to the last two general elections.

A revolt by people of all races...

In this general election, I see not only a revolt by the Chinese or the Indians but by people of all races, including my Sarawakian friends who are coming out in the open to express their disgust over the way how the country is run.

Soon, I believe we will also be receiving video clips from others like the sister of Teoh Beng Hock, Namewee and Bilqis Hijjas (the woman who was charged for dropping yellow balloons in front of Najib and Rosmah), to name just a few.

Therefore, I am not surprised that many others will come forward to tell Shahrizat what they think of her, and what they think of Rafidah.

Rafidah has been in charge of the International Trade and Industry Ministry from 1987 to 2008. In total, 21 years. Her name was synonymous to Miti. When you mention Miti, you think of Rafidah Aziz. Today, I do not even know who the minister in charge of Miti is, unless I do a search on the internet.

Most of us know Rafidah as the Iron Lady. In the past, she has always been very vocal but unlike her fellow cabinet minister S Samy Vellu, we enjoyed listening to Rafidah.

Of course, there was the Approved Permit (APs) that we knew about her, but she was the type of politician, despite you disagreeing with her, you would still respect her for her openness. For that reason, the business community found her to be a wonderful guest to invite to special events.

My first encounter with Shahrizat

My first encounter with Shahrizat was when she was MP of Lembah Pantai. I was doing an article on the playground at an apartment in Sri Sentosa. Shahrizat agreed to provide a new set of playground equipment for the residents. That, of course, impressed me.

When there was a battle between Shahrizat (photo) and the Umno Wanita incumbent, of course, I was in favour of the new face Shahrizat over Rafidah. I saw Shahrizat as the slightly more gentle type of lady compared to Rafidah, yet my respect for Rafidah has never ceased.

Shahrizat was, therefore, one of my favourite invitees when I organised a wheelchair marathon from Cheras to TV3 featuring former TV3 newscaster, Ras Adibah Radzi.

Let me put it this way. My respect for Shahrizat had waned off after the RM240 million scandal involving her husband and the National Feedlot Corporation came to light.

I still remember her, as the women affairs minister, rolling up her fist to “fight” with whistleblower Rafizi Ramli. There went my respect for Shahrizat!

When Rafidah came into the forefront recently with her statements, and the latest expose of the land scam allegedly involving Najib as the then defence minister, respect for Rafidah started to return. Why did it take her so long to finally bring this case to the forefront?

Better late than never. This is at least how I feel when Rafidah’s expose was first published on her Facebook account. As the no-nonsense woman that she is, I believe what Rafidah said in her post.

At least, she has the courage to do what is right. When she raises her hands, she does not pull back her punches. This is Rafidah Aziz, the woman who has finally rocked the boat.

This is my view and opinion about the woman they call the Iron Lady.


STEPHEN NG is an ordinary citizen with an avid interest in following political developments in the country since 2008.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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