Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz announced on Friday that she will defend the Wanita Umno chief's post in the party's elections in March, Bernama reports.In August, Rafidah had agreed to step down in June next year to pave the way for Shahrizat to take over the movement's leadership, but the postponement of the party polls to March made many Wanita Umno leaders urge Rafidah to reconsider the transition plan.
Rafidah, 65, said she appreciated and respected the nominations she received from 117 divisions.
"I leave it to the delegates, who represent the grassroots, to determine their preferred leader for the 2009-2011 period," she said in an 11-page statement today.
On Thursday, Wanita Umno deputy chief Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, who received 73 nominations, announced that she would contest for the movement's top post.
The decision has effectively scuttled the movement's leadership transition plan in June 2009 as announced by Rafidah in August.
In the statement, Rafidah also expressed disappointment that the transition plan was being disputed and rejected three months after she made the announcement.
She added that Datuk Seri Shahrizat herself who had agreed to abide by the transition plan was willing to change her stand when she received enough nominations to contest for the top post.
Had the matter been brought up before the nomination process started, the Wanita Umno executive council would have scrapped the transition plan, said Rafidah.
"And there would be no hesitation on my part to allow the divisions to nominate whomever they want for the posts of Wanita chief and deputy chief," she said.
The objection, however, only came to light after sufficient nominations were obtained for the posts, she said.
"Only then they come out with all kinds of excuses to object the plan," she said. Read here to continue...
Last weekend, the Wanita Umno exco reaffirmed its earlier decision for the top two posts in the wing not to be contested, but Kuala Kangsar Wanita chief, Datuk Kamilia Ibrahim, who has already qualified to run for No 2, insisted that the Wanita Umno exco had no right to decide on the movement's leadership.
Kamilia, who is also a Wanita Umno exco member, has won the No 2 post uncontested since Shahrizat has decided to go for the top post.