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Monday, November 28, 2011

Noose closes in on Shahrizat: Insistence NFC "nothing to do with me" adds to public anger

Noose closes in on Shahrizat: Insistence NFC "nothing to do with me" adds to public anger

Umno Senator Shahrizat Jalil refused to face up to corruption allegations surrounding her family's alleged involvement in the national beef production project, NFC, but her obstinacy may well boomerang and hasten her political downfall.

Already calls are growing within Umno, known to be fraught with infighting and there is a long queue eyeing her Women's chief post, for her to relinquish her positions. Whilst outside of Umno, her refusal to take responsibility has added to the public anger against her. Shahrizat is also the federal minister for Women's affairs.

"It is no point her leveling the blame at Pakatan Rakyat. Pakatan never forced NFC or her family to buy the two luxury condominiums with public money. Also, without her status in the BN, is she seriously saying the federal government would still have given the project to her husband and children? Do they have sufficient experience or expertise in developing a cattle livestock industry?" PKR vice president Chua Jui Meng told Malaysia Chronicle.

Nothing to do with me

Nonetheless, the way Shahrizat sees it is that she is wholly unconnected to the RM250 million NFC financial debacle, that even the Auditor-General had warned was in "a mess". According to her, Pakatan was after her because of the strength of her Wanita Umno wing.

Ironically, just days ago, it was Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin - who is also Umno deputy president - who admitted that the Wanita, Puteri and Youth were not performing to expectation.

"I agree on this and I believe that others also share this opinion (that the Youth, Puteri and Wanita wings are perceived to be not as active as before). Umno president Najib Razak himself has stated this in his special message to the party wings recently," Muhyiddin told Bernama in a recent interview.

"The assembly was held because we want them to realise that they have a greater role. But the view of outsiders with regard to the Youth and Puteri movements is that they are not up to expectations. We acknowledge this."

Writing on the wall

It looks like this may well be one political skirmish that Shahrizat won't be able to survive. The signs are clear, she may have no choice but to announce plans to step down as Women's chief before the next general election, widely expected to be held early next year.

Meantime, Shahrizat vowed to fight on. She promised to address the NFC controversy during the Umno general assembly this week, even though it has “nothing to do with me.”

“It is not a problem if the NFC issue is debated. I will answer during Wanita Umno’s assembly. I will send a clear message to those people out there,” Malaysian Insider reported her as saying and referring to the Pakatan Rakyat.

“I am being patient, as a woman I have to be calm. They (Pakatan) are doing this because they are afraid of Wanita Umno’s strength.”

Malaysia Chronicle

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