Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Press Statement on the withdrawal of Azalina to contest for Wanita Umno head by YB Zuraida Kamaruddin

Press Statement on the withdrawal of Azalina to contest for Wanita Umno head by YB Zuraida Kamaruddin

Barely one month after stating her intention to contest for the top Wanita post in UMNO, Azalina retracted her intention to contest against Sharizat due to ‘advice’ from top leadership. If this is not called ‘internal’ intervention, what is?

Jumping to Azalina’s defence is Puteri UMNO head Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin who said in the Malay Mail yesterday 16/9/13 that Azalina’s decision to withdraw was due to her realization that the contest would create splits among the leaders in the movement. She also stressed that top UMNO top leadership ‘had from the start practiced the policy of non-intervention in the election of leaders for the party wings’. This is contradictory to what Azalina herself tweeted that her decision was made after being ‘advised’.

This so-called non-interference and internal negotiations which prompted Azalina to withdraw is no slight matter. What must be highlighted is that according to an article published in FMT by Jeswan Kaur dated 15/9/13, Azalina has been offered a top GLC post in exchange for her withdrawal.

There needs to be a paradigm shift in the style of leadership in UMNO for it to be seen as progressive and forward moving. How can Wanita UMNO improve with the same tarnished leaders and without consideration to the abortion of the democratic development?

When Azalina accepted the advice of the top leadership to make way for ‘no-contest’ of the top position, this shows that the UMNO Women wing is spineless and voiceless, in addition to the Women’s wing being perceived as weak with no other better option than to offer an icon of corruption and desolation.

Such internal negotiation not only encourages cronyism but continues to promote and fuel the culture which is adverse toward a country’s growth. It poses as a hindrance and dampens the country’s democratic process.
This sets a precedence that can be seen as opportunity for other members who feel that by just mentioning to challenge for the top leadership post, she will be rewarded accordingly.

Quite immediately after Azalina’s withdrawal, Raihan Sulaiman, a member of the Kulim Bandar Bharu UMNO division stepped forward to lay claims to being the new challenger to Sharizat. She mentioned that when the news about the scandal-ridden NFC (National Feedlot Corporation) broke out, she thinks in way that it had tarnished UMNO’s name.

In this respect, I find it odd that while even UMNO members and the public find the association of the NFC scandal and Sharizat to be disgusting, the Prime Minister, Najib Razak conversely chooses to throw his support behind a ‘scandal-ridden’ personality to helm the UMNO Wanita top post.

As Rafidah Aziz said, Wanita UMNO needs a more credible talent for the top post.

If at all Sharizat  has any dignity left, she should relinquish all her posts and allow new capable leaders to emerge.

YB Zuraida Kamaruddin
Ketua Wanita Parti Keadilan Rakyat

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