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Shahrizat quits politics after 39 years
Published on: Sunday, June 24, 2018

Kuala Lumpur: Outgoing Wanita Umno Chief Tan Sri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil announced Saturday that she was retiring from politics.

Shahrizat did not defend her position in the Umno party election this year and said she had relinquished all her positions in the Malay nationalist party, including at the branch, division and national levels.

"One thing in politics, we must know when to leave," Shahrizat told reporters at the Umno headquarters here during polling for the Wanita, Youth and Puteri wings.

"I've 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," said the former Women, Family and Community Development Minister.

Shahrizat, who has been in politics for 39 years, thanked Wanita and Umno members.

"During my tenure, I was able to lead because I had support of the grassroots and our male counterparts as well.

So I wish them well. I'm retiring from politics. I'm going to spend more time with my grandchildren," she said.

"I'm really hopeful that I'm leaving Wanita Umno in the safe hands of the new leader."

She also said it was fine for each party to have its own mission and vision.

"There must be a common wish, which is the development of the nation and the unity of the people, so I wish Pakatan Harapan the very best," said Shahrizat.

Shahrizat helmed the women's ministry from 2001 to 2012. She quit as Minister after a corruption scandal surrounding the National Feedlot Centre (NFC) cattle-rearing project broke out.

Shahrizat's family was accused of using RM250 million in soft government loans meant for the NFC project to purchase luxury condominium units.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), however, cleared Shahrizat of involvement in the procurement of the RM250 million government loan for the National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp).

Her husband Datuk Seri Mohamad Salleh Ismail, who was NFCorp executive chairman, was acquitted in 2015 of two charges of criminal breach of trust involving RM49.7 million.

Meanwhile, Shahrizat said her top achievement was getting the Federal Constitution amended to prohibit gender discrimination.

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 really my biggest legacy lah, during my time when we got the Government to amend the Constitution, where women are not to be discriminated against — Article 8," she said.

Shahrizat also congratulated PKR President Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who was appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Women, Family and Community Development Minister after Pakatan Harapan (PH) won the 14th general election.

"I want to congratulate her. We're very proud of the achievement she has made.

Even though we come from different political parties, as women we work together and we're very proud of her achievement. And I believe under her stewardship, Kementerian Wanita will do well," said Shahrizat.

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