Wanita Umno is still strong, says its chief Rafidah Aziz.
She denied speculations that the movement had been weakened by several setbacks such as her exclusion from, and the appointment of her number two Shahrizat Abdul Jalil (who lost her seat in the general election) to the Cabinet.
(Rafidah retained her Kuala Kangsar seat.)
In fact, she said, the movement is raring to go.
According to Bernama:
The Wanita Umno leaders also lambasted some people whom they branded as irresponsible who tried to portray a movement in crisis following the appointment of Shahrizat, who failed to retain her Lembah Pantai parliamentary seat, as adviser on women's affairs and social issues to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, with ministerial status.
"I hope nobody tries to push a wedge between the Wanita leaders. I mean, we are there. We want to make sure this party survives well. I'm very happy today because we did some soul searching and we now understand what we need to do to move forward," Rafidah said.
She also said that Wanita Umno was in total support of the current Umno and BN leadership.
The rest of the story here.
Here's the thing. Umno is in crisis. For as long as Umno leaders and members are in denial, then, they can never fix the problem.
Wanita Umno may not be in crisis but Rafidah may see her leadership being challenged.
The writing, as they say. is already on the wall. The message from the leadership is that they want a change,
That was why she was dropped despite the fact that she delivered (for Umno) in Perak and that she is Wanita chief. AND that she was damn good at her job.
The Umno president threw convention out the window.
That's his prerogative.
All this show of Wanita unity is, of course, expected. It belies the undercurrent that is building up.
It remains to be seen whether Rafidah will step down and pave the way for Shahrizat . I know that Shahrizat prefers the Wanita "tradition" of taking over without challenging the incumbent.
But, well... that was yesterday. Will she remain patient? We know that whatever it is, she gets the backing of the leadership -- at least for now.
Some people are wondering whether Rafidah is angry enough to want to challenge Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for the presidency.
I don't know about that.
But, as we all can see, nothing is impossible....