What will Shahrizat be doing after April 8? (Photo by Hussein Shaharuddin/The Mole)
KUALA LUMPUR: The announcement that Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil will step down as Minister of Women, Family and Community Development in the wake of the National Feedlot Corporation scandal has bloggers asking a variety of questions.
Shahrizat said she will relinquish her post when her term as a Senator ends on April 8, but will remain head of Wanita Umno.
The announcement was praised by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who said Shahrizat's decision was "the right move for the sake of the Government and the interest of the party".
Both Shahrizat and Najib indicated that the former's decision to step down was made by her alone.
Blogger and veteran journalist A Kadir Jasin wrote today that it does indeed appear Shahrizat made the decision herself, and that "the Prime Minister has not intervened".
The blogger said that from the Prime Minister's statement, it could be concluded that "Shahrizat made the choice to 'sacrifice herself for the Cabinet and Umno' not because she was urged to do so by anyone'.
He also noted that there has been no indication as to whether the Prime Minister has decided to extend Shahrizat's appointment as a Senator beyond April 8.
The blogger said the announcement also raised some important questions, however.
"Is the resignation of her Cabinet post going to reduce Shahrizat’s influence as head of Wanita Umno or reduce pressure on that movement to defend the integrity of its chief?" he asked.
"Will other members of the Cabinet who have problems with integrity because they or their staff are involved in corruption and abuse of power follow in Shahrizat’s footsteps?"
He also asked whether the Prime Minister will "drop problematic characters like that from his list of 'winnable' candidates for the upcoming General Election".
Blogger Sri Tri Buana also asked whether other high-level figures might follow Shahrizat's lead, but this time the focus was on opposition politicians, many of whom have also seen their fair share of controversy.
"As humans, we are all imperfect and guilty of the wrongdoing. A responsible person will bear the burden and will be urged to give a good example," the blogger said, pointing to not only Shahrizat but also MCA leader Chua Soi Lek, who resigned in the midst of a controversy in 2010.
"So how will the 'gods and goddesses' of Pakatan Rakyat save Malaysia when they themselves don't show high political morals?" he asked. "Do we still want to gamble the future of Malaysia with politicians like them?"
"April 8 is when her senatorship will expire," he said. "Thus, waiting until April 8 does not mean resign. It means expiration of term.
"Resign means now," he added, "or before her senatorship expires. Right?"