Home > News > Nation
Friday September 13, 2013 MYT 4:21:00 PM
Friday September 13, 2013 MYT 10:41:35 PM
by rahmah ghazali
Our family legacy will take care of Umno when its name has been tarnished. I'm just a committee member and a lifetime Umno member but it is not easy for me, as someone from the bottom of hierarchy, to be representing our leaders who have tarnished our party.
It may look easy for people above us, but we have to struggle in order to bring Umno's name. It is hard to say that Umno is still relevant and it is the hope of the people.
How am I going to portray to the people when the leaders themselves have painted a negative image on the party. So this is my call, that is to realise my vision to make the Wanita movement go back to fitrah (disposition).
Previously, Wanita who are mostly mothers, were highly respected by the young generation. I joined Umno in my late 20s and we had so much respect for them. Many encouraged us to fight for Wanita, but it is not the same anymore.
Why do you think the name of Wanita has been tarnished?
I have been a writer for 18 years and I wrote two books. I think books are the best tools for me to become an observer, a critic. When the news about the scandal-ridden NFC (National Feedlot Corporation) broke out, I think in a way it has tarnished Umno's name.
It doesn't matter if you were involved or not because we have to remember it was the people who brought us up. If it was me, I would promise you that I would step down, because Umno has been in our veins since my father's generation. We fight for Umno with no interest.
Were you expecting anything after you announced your candidacy?
Honestly, I have zero expectation, just like a Malay saying, 'kalah pasti, menang belum tentu'. After a few days, I was shocked that so many came forward to support me.
I don't expect to win because I just want to be the first person to open doors to other people and tell them to be brave instead of just sitting down and complaining.
If you think you can do better, then come out. I just want to prove that Umno, although many people in the party have money and position, it doesn't prove anything if you are not brave. I hold on to a very simple principle, if you want to change the party, lead.
Change from within. Don't just talk. Show the people that you are capable of that. Don't say you can't prove anything just because you have a skeleton in the closet.
There were reports indicating that the top leaders, including the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had intervened when former Puteri chief Datuk Seri Azalina Othman wanted to contest. Aren't you scared if the same thing occurs?
I am scared of Allah, and not him. He (Najib) should know that if people obey Allah, they have to also obey the leaders. This is stated in the Quran. If I say I am not scared of him, he should be proud because I hold strongly to God's words, that is we have to respect the leaders. I will remain loyal to a leader, as long as he is on the right path.
I don't want to blindly become a follower. I can even resign anytime from Umno if I want to. I have nothing to lose. I probably lose my business and there will be people talking about me. I don't care. I believe my earnings of living all come from God.
Many have said if there's a contest for top posts, you will end up creating a friction within the party.
How is that possible if no one supports me? If I do have my own supporters, I will listen to them and tell them to unite and not to hate Shahrizat because at the moment God has given her the chance to lead again. Why hate her? Nobody is perfect.
God gives certain people (the chance) to go up, that is all. But if I were to make the same mistake like she did, I would withdraw myself (from the race) because the last thing I'd want to have as a leader is liability.
Even my father did not break ranks with Hussein Onn, they were good friends. He would speak nicely about everyone. I think friction only comes from the top leaders, not the grassroots. There will be no friction if the leaders are honest.
Talk on the ground is that you are contesting because you want to gain support from the followers of former Wanita chief Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz?
I don't know about that because my only campaigning tool is via Facebook. Some people have called me and asked me whether I am serious, but honestly, I don't have anything to gain from this. But I would definitely want to put an end to all kinds of factions. I think this happens when you as a leader, expect people to like you, but not your work and performance. For me, I don't want to be popular, but I don't mind if I am popular based on my performance and as the result of my work.
Do you think you can do a better job than Shahrizat as a Wanita chief?
I don't want to downgrade Shahrizat, actually I didn't even want to mention about NFC but she can't escape from this fact. It has become a liability to the party.
I am not saying she is not doing a good job. I believe we should give a chance to new faces that are clean and have no liability for the sake of the next general election.
I am sad for Wanita. I was shocked to learn that during 13th general election, I received so many calls inviting me to speak at ceramah.
As it turned out, Wanita lacked of women speakers and this got me asking, why didn't they groom all the speakers like PAS or PKR? We have to start doing it before the next general election as the women need to be more outspoken, not just go door-to-door campaigning.
What would your leadership style be if elected?
It would be different because I would definitely promote other leaders under me if they are good. If they are good, they can outshine me. Let's say if the excos want to organise big events, let them do that.
I believe in Wanita, all the exco members are good, so we need to push them up. It doesn't matter if they outshine you because they deserve it. And I do not want to be popular. I knew this since I joined Perkasa. If I could be popular there, why would I resign? I only step down if I find something is not right with my leadership, you can take my word for it.
Have you started campaigning for the coming party election?
I haven't. By right, you can't, because in the Umno constitution, it clearly says that you cannot campaign openly (before the nomination day).
But I want to ask (Malay daily) Utusan, what are they doing? They are campaigning for Shahrizat openly as there have been reports saying that seven states have voted for her and would support her in the election. Isn't that called a campaign?
So I think Shahrizat has breached the rule. I have announced my candidacy for so long, why didn't they pick up on this? Utusan, go back to journalism school. Don't attract more hatred from Umno. You are already hated by the opposition and do not encourage people to hate you.
What do you think of Azalina's withdrawal from the race?
She shouldn't be afraid of possible frictions in the party like everyone has been saying. It's been 56 years since our Independence day. Why would we want to do that? As long as we put religion as our priority, we wouldn't. If she is sincere in developing Wanita, she wouldn't have withdrawn. We need a new generation who can bring up the party. A lot of young people have had put high hopes on me.
If your father was still alive, do you think he would be proud of you going for the top post?
Oh definitely he would be proud of me because he had always wanted me to carry on with our fight. Otherwise, he would curse me in his grave. (laughs).
Copyright © 1995-2013 Star Publications (M) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)