NEW DELHI â€“ It took less than eight minutes for Wanita Umno chief Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil to crack up delegates at a conference in Indiaâ€™s capital with her spontaneous remarks and candid speech.
The former cabinet minister was among more than 10 speakers at the 125th Anniversary commemoration, “Nehru’s Worldview and His Legacy: Democracy, Inclusion and Empowerment”.
By the time Shahrizat took to the stage, the delegates were already exhausted.
“After a fabulous lunch and not less than 10 speakers, it’s like making babies. It’s easy to make, but believe me it’s very hard to deliver them. So, have mercy on me, sir,” she told the session’s chairman, which drew laughter
from the delegates.
With the perfect ice breaker, she when on to say, “However, I have to warn you that my name is Shahrizat, which is the Malay version of the Persian name
Sha-ha-ra-zat. Those of you who don’t know Shah-ha-ra-zat, you can spin a story for 1001 nights. So, you’re not going home early.”
As the delegates turned more alert, Shahrizat then touched on Jawaharlal Nehru, Indiaâ€™s first prime minister’s immense contribution to the world, including to women empowerment.
“I discovered that Mr Nehru was keen that women play their part as equal citizens in nation-building. Unlike in the west, women in India got the right to vote at the same time as the men.
“Similarly, Malaysian women were also as blessed, for the country’s first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman had said that, ‘Before we fight for the independence of the nation, we must fight for the independence of our women.’
“True to the spirit of Nehru, women in Malaysia are already breaking the glass ceiling in various sectors.
“Women are also smart partners of the men in developing the nation, as is happening in India. We in Malaysia practise inclusive democracy which is
empowering, especially for the young and women,” she said, which got her a standing ovation from the women delegates.
Indian National Congress party vice-president, Rahul Gandhi praised Shahrizat for her speech.
“I saw the women giving you a standing ovation. I hope you get much support in everything (you do). If they don’t (give you the support), you can come here,” he said in jest.
At the end of the session, the delegates took turns to praise her. One delegate came up and said, “You helped to wake us up. Your speech was so refreshing.”
Another delegate went a step further by saying, “I am going to invite you to my next election rally.” – BERNAMA