I was never much of a fan of the Barisan Nasional, no surprise there. But early on I rather liked Rafidah – or perhaps I liked the idea of Rafidah, the persona she wore. The UM economics lecturer turned International Trade Minister plus the no-nonsense attitude: it made it seem cool to have a person who actually knew a thing or two about the job instead of just someone who could bluff his way through a speech.
Then came the whole AP thing. The pakai tudung when it’s useful thing. The whole then-magnanimous speech about being thankful for a long career after being dropped from the Cabinet… and then needing to hang on to a position for another six months after elections. Almost makes me think that the best politicians are the ones who die in office before they have a chance to let you down.
Recently of course, it’s the whole Sharizat versus Rafidah brouhaha.
“Barisan Nasional component parties have been told not to wash their dirty laundry in public.
BN Wanita head Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz reminded them to settle all internal issues within the coalition and not use the media to publish their grouses.”
– “‘Keep feuds within the family’”, The New Straits Times, Dec. 3, 2008.
Now this would be all fine and dandy if she were providing grandmotherly advice to, say, infighting in the MIC. But it is instead an ill-disguised barb against her opponent, who was sitting right next to her when she was at the press conference. The grand irony and the height of hypocrisy is that this wasn’t a speech to delegates or members of BN – this was in a press conference, the very channel she said one should avoid.
"'If you have something to raise, then do through a memo or raise it in a meeting. What is the problem?"
- Rafidah Aziz, ibid.
Let's look at the problem, then. I don’t know a thing about Sharizat’s policies and have no idea if she’d make a better Wanita head. But in all fairness, it should be noted that Sharizat’s explanation for going to the media was that she couldn’t get word in edgeways in the meeting, and that she was bullied into compliance. Rafidah would have had a point if Sharizat had a fair hearing in the meeting, agreed without undue pressure and then did a turn around the next day. So far, Sharizat’s account of how the meeting was conducted has not been contested. Close-door meetings - that's the problem.
And to add to it, she said that the purpose of the press conference as to talk about the BN, and that she was so focused on it that she she actually “forgot” person she was contesting was sitting right next to her.
That’s a lot to swallow, when the person saying it should really be eating humble pie. Apparently you can say a lot of nonsense in a no-nonsense voice.