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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Shahrizat counts her days: Kamilia the big winner - Cabinet and Wanita posts in the bag


Shahrizat counts her days: Kamilia the big winner - Cabinet and Wanita posts in the bag
Ask anyone in town and 8 out of 10 will tell you, UMNO leaders are self-centered opportunists. Whatever they do and say is aimed at promoting their own personal agenda. Likewise Kamilia Ibrahim, the deputy Wanita Chief, is believed to be the latest lucky member to have stumbled on the golden opportunity to promote her political career, thanks to the tumble taken by her disgraced boss, Shahrizat Jalil, over a corruption scandal.
Kamilia is the Kuala Kangsar Wanita Umno division chief replacing the graft-tainted Rafidah Aziz. She runs a law firm, Kamilia Ibrahim & Co which was established in 1984. Previously Kamilia was a law lecturer at the Property Management Faculty of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia. She completed her Masters in Property Law and Law of Restitution and Comparative Constitutional Law.
Kamilia also runs a Certified Company Secretarial and Management Firm. She holds the post of non-Independent Non-Executive Director of KUB Malaysia and is the secretary-general of PEMADAM (Anti-drug Abuse Association of Malaysia.) But she is not a Cabinet minister and it is here that opportunity has knocked on her door!
Going for broke
Like other UMNO opportunists, Kamilia has a strategy and she is not shy to be seen going for broke. Backed by her loyal supporters from the Wanita wing, she has been busy airing her grievances against Shahrizat, beseeching the latter to step down over the RM250mil NFC corruption debacle. “People are poking fun at Wanita and calling us cows. The Wanita grassroots are complaining that it's difficult to work with the issue over their heads,” Kamilia told the media.
With the pressure piling up on Prime Minister Najib Razak to act agaist Shahrizat, Umno secretary-general Tengku Adnan was forced to tell Kamilia to shut up. But what sort of game is going on here? Is it sheer opportunism by Kamilia against Shahrizat, or was she 'asked' to speak up against her boss.
Now, in the 2008 race for the post of Wanita chief, Kamilia had backed Shahrizat even though the incumbent was then Rafidah, the Kuala Kangsar MP, and Kamilia headed the KK division. So Kamilia is not anyone's poodle, meaning she won't simply give away favors unless the order came from the highest level and there is clear opportunity to benefit from the situation.
Deep game
This is why many in Umno think Najib is playing a deep game with both Shahrizat and Kamilia. After all, Kamilia's famous comments were prominently splashed all over the Star, the MCA-owned newspaper that is well-known to be aligned to Najib, just a day before a key meeting of women delegates with Najib over Shahrizat's fate as the Wing's chief.
But what is Najib doing. Some say he doesn't want to force Shahrizat out because she may know a secret or two about him. Remember the NFC cattle breeding project, which is run by he husband and children, had bought a RM1.7 million luxury apartment in Kazakhstan and this has been rumored to be a wedding gift for Najib's daughter. So outwardly at least, Najib has to show his support for Shahrizat even though in the process he and UMNO become accused of endorsing corruption!
However, Najib also needs to satisfy the other UMNO members who want Shahrizat out of their party before the 13th general election takes place on concern that she will tarnish UMNO's image and cause it to lose crucial votes. This is where Kamilia comes in to moderate the impression that Shahrizat was getting everything her way.
Clumsily executed
It also shows how preoccupied with himself, Najib is. He cares little for the country or his own party. Instead of using the opportunity to set an example for wayward UMNO members to beware, he is reassuring the corrupt amongst them that come what may, he will stand by them and cover up for them!
It has become clear what Kamilia's reward will be. When Shahrizat's tenure as Women's minister expires on April 8, Kamilia is mostly likely to be named Shahrizat's successor. However, Kamilia may have to wait a little longer to assume the top Wanita post, but there is little doubt that she will win hands down, regardless of whether Shahrizat is thick-skinned enough to defend the post.
Indeed Kamilia's courage in speaking the truth - that Shahrizat is no longer fit to head Wanita - will ensure that she is nominated and elected as the new Wanita chief.  Kamilia needs to wait only a few more months, until the Umno internal polls are held later this year.
Big loser
The big loser in the entire episode is of course Najib. His clumsy drama has failed to appease ordinary Malaysians or the Umno grassroots. But because of his own baggage, he may have no choice but to prolong the game until Shahrizat herself accepts that there is nothing more he can do to shield her.
In his actions, Najib has confirmed that he is a weak and unprincipled leader. To insist Shahrizat is innocent is to most Malaysians the height of incredulity when criminal breach of trust charges have already been pressed against her husband for massive corruption involving the purchase of big-ticket items such as several luxury condominiums here and in Singapore. Can these be hidden from her and can it be that she never once asked her husband and children, where did they suddenly get so much money to buy so many and such valuable assets.
It certainly looks like Najib has compromised himself. As Shahrizat has famously said, who in BN has no problems?
Malaysia Chronicle

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