Monday, March 16, 2009

Of Wanita Chief post : Rafidah, choice

Now that both Rafidah and Shahrizat has negotiate the last bend and going into the final stretch, who will cross the finishing line? Both are good, in their own ways. So let us go down to their statistics, from laymen eyes...

1. Age - Rafidah is 66 and is 10 years older than Shahrizat. At this age, both are still able to contribute to UMNO is eleced as the Women chief. In this aspect, there is no clear advantage to any of the candidate.

2. Current UMNO post - Rafidah is the incumbent Women Chief whilst Shahrizat is the deputy. In terms of contribution to the party, Rafidah has her share of contribution due to her long association with the party. Rafidah has lost once to Siti Zaharah in her bid to retain the Women chief post but came back to claim the spot 3 years later in 1999. Shahrizat, meanwhile, became politically active in 2001 and is now the Deputy Women chief. From here, Rafidah is more resilient in defending her UMNO post whilst Shahrizat has not be tested. Advantage to Rafidah as the incumbent.

3. Number of nominations - In this aspect, Rafidah has more nominations than Shahrizat. However, the nominations are non-binding so there is no clear advantage here.

4. Public perception - Rafidah has clearly indicated that she prefers the transition to take place in June 2009 when she will pass the baton to her deputy (at that time Shahrizat). Shahrizat, in her earlier statements, has indicated that she is a willing party to the proposed transition process. However, Shahrizat opted to go for the Wanita chief post after assessing her position after the nominaionprocess is over and she has the numbers to either contest the Wanita chief or the deputy chief. Public perception is she is not a woman of her words and can be pursuaded to do things against her belief. Another perception is she is afraid to defend her deputy wanita chief post when Kamaliah announce that she is going for the deputy post. In this aspect, Rafidah Aziz has a slight edge over Shahrizat.

5. Delegate perception - Since March 2008 elections, UMNO agree that revamp is needed for the party. Some leaders may need to go way to strengthen the party and the Women wing. The delegates did not see the reasoning offered by Rafidah to hand the mantle to her deputy in June 2009 when the party AGM and election is held in March 2009. In this aspect, Shahrizat has the edge.

6. Voters perception - During the March 2008 GE, Rafidah survived the political tsunami whilst Shahrizt was defeated by Nurul Izzah in Lembah Pantai. Even in GE 11, Shahrizat only manage to retain her seat by a whisker when Zainur Zakaria contested against her. If this is the indicator, then Shahrizat's performance as an elected MP is poor. In this aspect, Rafidah holds the edge.

7. Performance as Minister - With vast experience, Rafidah has manage the Ministry of International Trade well. Although there are allegations of APs' and abuse of power, but this is not serious enough to drag down her overall performance. Shahrizat had experience in Federal territories and Women affairs ministry. Her handling of women affrairs ministry is not pleasant when at times, she is at odds with the religous councils. Here, Rafidah holds the edge.

8. Post 2008 positions - Although Rafidah retained her Kuala kangsar seat, she failed to gain the trust of AAB to be re-appointed as Minister. Shahrizat, on the other hand, failed to retain her Lembah Pantai seat but was rewarded a Consultant post with pay and perks equivalent to Minister. Shahrizat post was created when the UMNO women wing created havoc complaining to AAB on his exclusion of their members to the cabinet. Here Shahrizat holds the edge as she can meet and travel under Government duties.

9. State factions and career background - Rafidah hails from Perak whilst Shahrizat hails from Penang. However, it is interesting to note that Kamaliah (the unopposed incoming deputy chief) is from Perak. Rafidah is an economist whilst Shahrizat is a lawyer by profession. Again, Kamaliah is also a lawyer by profession. This makes it interesting. If Rafidah wins, both the no 1 and 2 post of the wing shall be held by persons from the same state and comes June 2009, another Perakian (Kamaliah) will helm the women chief post. If Shahrizat wins the post, both no 1 and 2 post will be held by lawyers which may be at odds when legal matters arises. Is there any possibility that Rafidah (from Kuala Kangsar) and Kamaliah (from Kuala kangsar) having a deal that the post will be transferred from 1 Perakian to another and sidelining Shahrizat in the process? As mentioned in no 4 above, did Shahrizat opts to go for the Wanita chief post to avoid contesting against Kamaliah? Is there any possibility that Shahrizat join forces with Kamaliah to oust Rafidah from both the Wanita chief post and the Kuala Kangsar head post? As these possibilities are there, slight advantage to Shahrizat.

10. Relation with incoming UMNO President - So far NTR has not indicated any preference. No advantage to either Rafidah or Shahrizat.

11. Poll opinion - So far, poll opinion indicated that Shahrizat has slight advantage over Rafidah. However, as there is more than 1 week to go before the delegates cast their votes, this opinion may not be accurate. No advantage to either Rafidah or Shahrizat.

12. SK or SI - The buzz word for the year is SK (empty handed handshake) or SI (money grip). If there are any done by the campaign managers, it has not been reported to teh Disciplinary board. Thus, assume that it is non-existent in Women chief contest. No advantage to Rafidah or Shahrizat.

13. Numbers game - Rafidah is candidate no 1 and Shahrizat is candidate no 2. Some delegates may choose the easy way out by casting their vote on number 1 as they may not wish to go against the convention of voting out the incumbent. 1996 has demonstrated how ineffective the Women chief position is when Rafidah lost the contest. Advantage Rafidah.

Based on these criteria, Rafidah should win the contest although the current sentiment is going strongly for Shahrizat. The PM2B preference is not openly declared and if UMNO women wing wants to avoid being sidelined again, it is to their gain to retain Rafidah as the UMNO women chief as she has the will and the drive to push for UMNO women members to be in future cabinet lineup, expected to be annouced by NTR when (and if) he takes over the premiership in April 2009.

I love to be right but I accepted if my readings is wrong. Afterall, there are only 2 sides of a coin. Flip it, and surely it will turns up either head or tail. There is no free coffee is this is right and I won't lose any teh tarik if it is wrong.

Till then...G'nite M'sia...wherever u are...

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