In a fiery policy speech today, embattled Umno Wanita chief Shahrizat Abdul Jalil launched a broadside at her counterpart in PKR Zuraidah Kamaruddin, challenging the latter to urge PKR president Wan Azizah Wan Ismail to step down.
Addressing nearly 1,000 animated Wanita delegates at the wing’s annual general assembly (AGM) this morning, the wing’s leader turned hostile while touching on the issue of the National Feedlot Corporation (NFC).
“I want to issue a warning to the opposition - Zuraidah, the biadap (rude) PKR Wanita chief, you think we are afraid of you? You want me to resign, who are you to say so?” she said, reiterating that the opposition targeted her out of jealousy at Umno Wanita’s achievements.
“Why? Because her husband, PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim, has been convicted and punished for all kinds of offences which I would not want to (state). Am I right?” said Shahrizat to a loud reply of “Right!” from the delegates.
“Zuraidah should urge the PKR president to resign, then only she is terror !” she said to another round of cheers.
She then warned the opposition that her statement made today is just the beginning of her counterattack.
“Don’t assume that I'm weak just because I always smile. I’m not a Wanita chief for comfortable times but I’m a Wanita chief for tough times!” said Shahrizat, who defeated the formidable then-Wanita chief Rafidah Aziz during a stiff party election in 2009 which nearly split the wing into two factions.
“I want to remind the opposition, don’t take Umno Wanita for granted.”
Sharizat even jokingly rolled up her sleeves to show that she is ready to take up the fight with the opposition.
Cheers from delegates
PKR strategy chief Rafizi Ramli, who has been harping on the issue of NFC, was not spared either.
“Rafizi or Hafizi, what’s the name? That young Si Tanggang (the name of an ungrateful son in a Malay tale) went to school to learn from all the mothers but came back as a betrayer who sells out his religion and race,” Shahrizat quipped, setting off an explosion of laughter.
The Women, Family and Community Development Minister also claimed that the service centre of an MP in Machang, Kelantan, was closed because the MP was too busy in Kuala Lumpur.
Although no name was mentioned, it was clear that Shahrizat referred to Machang MP-cum-PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution, one of the opposition leaders who had exposed the NFC scandal.
The fiery speech received an overwhelming response from the delegates. Even Wanita members who were following the meeting through a big screen outside of the hall joined in the cheering.
“I believe every human being whose name is woman, wife and mother, will understand and cry with me,” added the senator, who helms the wing with 1.3 million members from 191 divisions.
The support for Shahrizat continued to snowball after the speech as delegates who debated her speech vowed to give her full backing.
Shahrizat has been the target of the opposition who claimed that her husband, Mohamad Salleh Ismail, who is the NFC’s executive chairperson, had abused the RM250 million government soft loan.
Apart from the opposition, Shahrizat’s colleagues in Umno, as well as BN backbenchers , also demanded her resignation.
However she secured the backing of Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin who said she was not directly involved in the scandal.