Dec 17, 2008 By Sajahan Abdul Waheed
KUALA LUMPUR: Why is Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz taking charge of Wanita Umno's campaign in the Kuala Terengganu by-election?
The movement's deputy head Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil yesterday just shrugged when asked about it, claiming she didn't have a clue.
Traditionally, it is the deputy head who is in charge during any by-election.
"I do not have the faintest idea on this. Anyway it is the prerogative of Rafidah as the Wanita Umno head to decide on who should lead the machinery," Shahrizat said.
She added that it was good for Rafidah to lead the women's team. Speaking after launching the National Heart Institute's "Make a Child's Wish Come True" campaign, Shahrizat said it was more important to ensure a victory for Umno and Barisan Nasional in the by-election.
For the upcoming by-election, BN will be led by Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Najib Razak, while the deputy heads of Umno Youth and Puteri Umno will take charge of their respective wings' machinery.
Rafidah's decision to take charge has roused curiosity among some Wanita Umno members.
Her critics argue that her move is linked to the fact that Shahrizat has more support in Terengganu, and that she is using the by-election to strengthen her influence in view of the March party elections. Shahrizat is challenging Rafidah for the movement's top post.
The critics pointed out that it was Shahrizat who led the Wanita Umno machinery for the Permatang Pauh by-election in August.
Shahrizat, who is also the special adviser to the prime minister on women's affairs and social development, said she had no problems working closely with Rafidah for the by-election, scheduled for Jan 17.
"I speak for myself. Put the March party elections aside as what is most important is to retain the Kuala Terengganu seat. There is no animosity on my part and I can work with Rafidah."
Shahrizat said that a person's true character will be put to the test when he or she is challenged or during a crisis. "I have learnt this in recent times. A person's real calibre comes out during challenging times."
Asked whether she had spoken to Rafidah recently, Shahrizat said: "No, because we did not have the chance to do so. The last time we met was during the Wanita BN meeting (on Dec 2)."