KUALA LUMPUR – Wanita UMNO, the backbone of the party, will continue to adhere to the principles of civilised struggles when carrying out the party’s agenda and to defend UMNO.
Its chief Tan Sri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil said the movement did not need to act in dramatic ways and making noise on things the movement has done and achieved, instead it brought in knowledge while carrying out the work of the party and to forge closer ties with the people.
“Our struggles are done in civilised quiet manner, that’s the reason why people have the perception that we do not have many members who are professionals in their personal capacity.
“What I see is those in the opposition who feels that being aggressive is equal to being modern; that being uncivilised is modern; against the norm is ‘cool’. We are more interested in a modern way which incorporates tradition in doing our thing, we do not need to scream or create madness in the middle of the road to get something,” she said in an interview with Bernama ahead of UMNO General Assembly 2016, which will take place next week.
In recent years, the local political landscape, tainted by illegal gatherings which strayed off from the basis of democracy, has somewhat tarnished the country’s image.
Denying allegations that professional women were more comfortable choosing the opposition platform to voice their opinions and fight for their principles than (joining) UMNO, Shahrizat said Wanita UMNO’s membership was well balanced.
In terms of membership, UMNO Women movement today comprised those experienced and mature members who have education background in various fields including professionals such as lawyers, doctors, entrepreneurs and accountants to serve the community, she said.
Shahrizat, a former cabinet minister who is also the advisor on Women Entrepreneurship and Professional Development (KIW) at the Prime Minister’s Department, said it was more important to see the results of the work accomplished by the Wanita UMNO in addressing certain issues and to ensure that proper actions are taken to solve the problems.
“The outcome (of action) is important, KPI (Key Performance Index) is also important, so today we have seen a lot of women’s issues are given due attention. It is the uniqueness and beauty in Wanita UMNO,” she said.
Taking the opportunity of next week’s general assembly to deliver a clear message to the delegates to focus on the upcoming 14th General Election, Shahrizat said, among others, her keynote addresses would focus on the preparedness of Wanita UMNO, which has about 1.36 million members to face the election which is seen to be the most challenging to date.
She stressed on the importance of the members to stay united, close ranks and solidarity to ensure a strong UMNO and Wanita UMNO women movement would become a fort to defend the institution of the President.
“If we have weapons, a great idea, great rhetorics but if we are not united, we will be ruined. So I ask the women to move forward and maintain and strengthen our unity. Our principle is that we support the institution of the President and as the backbone of UMNO we can’t afford to slip up against this principle,” she said.
Expecting that the upcoming party’s general assembly could be the last gathering before the 14th general election, Shahrizat said the spirit of the Wanita UMNO was ablaze and all members were ready and prepared to mobilise the machinery to face the election.
“Wanita is ready for the general election. We are waiting and it is up to the President (to announce when is the election), we are already on standby” she said.
She said that UMNO leaders at all levels should always be careful and take lesson from the party’s internal turmoil, that resulted some having left the party and set up a new one to go against UMNO.
“It has become common practices in any political parties, not only in UMNO, it does exist even in the opposition. When former leaders are dissatisfied, left and formed a new party which is not unusual. We are politicians and not in a welfare association. We must be on standby, ready to face whatever trials and tribulations that come our way,” she said.
On the UMNO General Assembly 2016, Wanita UMNO would bring up the resolutions that have been agreed upon in the Syariah Roundtable Session as motions in the upcoming assembly.
Shahrizat said these resolutions are among the agendas that would be raised by the movement to strengthen the Syariah judicial institutions in the country.
“The Syariah Roundtable Session by Syariah practitioners and policy makers was held recently, to study three main topics namely the standardisation of Islamic law in Malaysia, inheritance law and the empowerment of the Syariah Court,” she said.
The delegates will also touch on issues concerning politics, economy, education and religion.
Recognising the rising cost of living that has plagued the population, as a political party that felt for the women who are also housekeepers, Shahrizat said Wanita UMNO viewed the issue as a priority.
She said Wanita UMNO would urge the government to give priority, especially to women who are the head of households by giving them employment opportunities and opportunity in business to generate income.
“This includes by giving them the opportunity to do business from home, online, or via Pasarnita and other programmes run by government agencies such as AIM (Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia), Tekun and MARA (Majlis Amanah Rakyat),” she added. – BERNAMA