Tuesday March 13, 2012
Shahrizat absent from opening of Parliament
KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil who will relinquish her ministerial post when her senatorship ends next month was conspicuous by her absence at the opening of Parliament.
She was not among the Cabinet ministers and other dignitaries gathered at Parliament Square for the arrival of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah.
Her aide Eikmar Rizal Ripin confirmed that the Women, Family and Community Development Minister did not attend the opening of Parliament but gave no reason.
Eikmar Rizal said Shahrizat would be busy in the weeks ahead to see through several programmes be- fore her term as senator ends on April 8.
Shahrizat had announced on Sunday that she would relinquish her Cabinet post but would remain as Wanita Umno chief.
She had been drawn into the controversy surrounding the National Feedlot Corporation of which her husband Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Salleh is executive chairman and their son Wan Shahinur Izmi is chief executive officer.
MPs from both sides of the political divide continued to comment on Shahrizat's announcement, with Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim describing it as “too late”.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said: “The situation involves moral and personal issues and she is courageous in doing so (resigning from the Cabinet).”
Hishammuddin said he respected her decision to resign as minister and would support her as Wanita Umno chief.
Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister Datuk Seri Noh Omar commended Shahrizat for stepping down.
“She is a strong leader and has done the right thing although it (the NFCorp controversy) has nothing to do with her,” he added.
Penang Chief Minister and Bagan MP Lim Guan Eng described Shahrizat's resignation as a “half-hearted” move and said she showed “no real remorse”.
“By resigning, she is admitting that something is wrong and so she should resign from both her ministerial position and her post as Wanita Umno chief. If there is nothing wrong, why should she resign?” he said.
Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal (BN-Semporna) said Shahrizat's resignation was genuine, timely and the right decision.
“Her resignation as a minister has nothing to do with her position in Umno. It doesn't mean that she should relinquish her Wanita Umno post which she won (in the party election),” he said.
“It just so happens that her husband is involved (in the NFCorp controversy). Let the law take its course.”
Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Ahmad Maslan said the Opposition should not look at Shahrizat's resignation as an admission of guilt.
“She wants to speed up investigations.”
At Shahrizat's bungalow in Damansara Heights here, close friends and family rallied around her after Dr Mohamad Salleh was charged.
Alongside several of her most staunch supporters from Wanita Umno, they were seen streaming into the home yesterday.
The auxiliary police stationed there and her bodyguards, however, did not allow reporters to approach the house.