Wanita Umno chief Rafidah Aziz will face her number two, Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, in what will certainly be a keen fight for the wing's top post in the upcoming party elections.
Barring unforeseen circumstances --like "slow talk" from the top -- the contest will take place.
Shahrizat has not announced her decision to contest and is expected to do so tomorrow.
Given recent developments -- some say undercurrents -- in the wing, Rafidah had most probably expected Shahrizat's decision to challenge her.
Original leadership transition plans went awry after Aidilfitri.
Key to the turn of events was the announcement by Wanita Umno exco member Kamilia Ibrahim to challenge Shahrizat for the vice post. The lady cannot be talked out of contesting.
Whether this was all part of Shahrizat's strategy to pressure Rafidah to step down ahead of the planned June transition is still being talked about among supporters of both leaders.
Obviously, Rafidah is not daunted. Nor intimidated. She will defend her post.
Her detractors have pooh-poohed the June transition plan saying that the party constitution does not provide for it. Besides, it is not an Umno practice.
They also say that she should not be biding her time and, well, why wait for June.
It is time for her to hand over the leadership to Shahrizat.
Stepping down in June after the party elections in March would leave Shahrizat as just an acting chief until the next party elections.That's not fair, they holler.
Rafidah is aware of this concern.
So why was the June transition plan agreed to, in the first place? Why did Shahrizat not say much earlier that she wanted to go for the number one?
Shahrizat's supporters said that it was never her intention to challenge Rafidah but she "tersepit" because of Kamilia's steadfastness to go for her post.
Really, Rafidah has nothing to lose here. She is going to step down anyway. If she wins -- well, that's endorsement and validation from members. She'll be stronger, that's for sure.
For Shahrizat -- she has to win. It's a do or die.
And Kamilia? Congratulations should be in order for her. She's the "winner", any which way you look at it.
This turn of events in Wanita has saddened the Umno president who will be meeting Rafidah and Shahrizat to "resolve" the situation.
Pak Lah believes that a contest for Wanita's top post will split the wing. Will it?
Some people disagree. Contests are good because it produces strong leaders who are endorsed by members.
I don't know what Pak Lah has in mind, or how he is going to persuade Rafidah and Shahrizat to come to an agreement/compromise to avert a contest. I wish him well.
Chances are that the show will go on.
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