KUALA LUMPUR: Tan Sri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil has announced that she was quitting politics, saying that she knew it was time to leave.
“The one thing we must know in politics is when to leave.
“I have been around a long time. I feel that for me, I must know when to leave. This is the time for me to leave to make way for younger, fresher faces,” she told reporters at the Umno headquarters here yesterday.
The outgoing Wanita Umno chief did not defend her position in the party election this year and said she had relinquished all her positions at the branch, division, and national levels.
Shahrizat, who said she would remain as an Umno member, said she had been in politics for 39-years and considered ammending the Federal Constitution to prohibit gender discrimination as her best achievement.
She said after Article 8 of the Federal Constitution was amended to outlaw gender discrimination, many laws were audited to ensure the protection of women’s rights and interests.
“We changed the Constitution, which I think is my biggest legacy...during my time when we got the government to amend the Constitution, where women are not to be discriminated against.”
She also congratulated PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who was appointed as deputy prime minister and women, family and community development minister after Pakatan Harapan (PH) won the 14th General Election.
“I want to congratulate her.
“Even though we come from different political parties, as women we work together and we’re very proud of her achievement. I believe under her stewardship, the ministry will do well,” she said.
Shahrizat also thanked all party members for giving her their support during her tenure as Wanita chief.
She said there were many among the party members who would be more than able to lead the Wanita wing
“I am sure the best candidate would be elected to fill the post after I am gone,” she said.
Shahrizat, 65, became Wanita Umno head in 2009 after defeating then incumbent Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz.
She was the first Minister of Women and Family Development when the ministry was created by then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in 2001.
Later, when Abdullah Ahmad Badawi became Prime Minister, he retained her in the renamed Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development.
She suffered an upset loss in her Lembah Pantai parliamentary seat in the 2008 general election seat to newcomer Nurul Izzah Anwar.
The following year, she bounced back by winning the Wanita Umno top post, became a senator and was included in Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s Cabinet.
However, she was forced to step down as a minister three years later after being embroiled in a scandal involving the National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) run by her family.
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