Photo above courtesy of the very cute Mob1900.

as told by Joceline Tan in The Star today.

 No fury like Rafidah

In Putrajaya, the women dispersed at about 7pm only after being told that Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi would meet the wing’s exco the next day. 

But the drama was far from over. 

A late announcement from Putrajaya that Shahrizat, who lost her Lembah Pantai seat in the polls, had been appointed special adviser with ministerial status on women’s affairs did little to improve the situation. 

Pickles: How funny is this… Sharizat went to argue Rafidah’s case and the PM shut her up by giving her an extra special post (nyuk nyuk nyuk).

Instead, it only made Rafidah more furious resulting in a heated exchange of words over the telephone that may have damaged relations between the two women for some time to come. Rafidah apparently accused Shahrizat of stabbing her in the back. 

Pickles: Rafidah, she went to fight for you lah but PM gave her a post she cannot say no to. That’s how it is kan in UMNO/BN la di da Malaysia Boleh land….

Rafidah’s reaction to the sudden end of her long political career had been stunning to say the least. 

“She was like a wounded tigress,” said a senior Wanita Umno politician. 

She was livid, fierce and wrathful, lashing out at people around her, including Shahrizat who has been an uncommonly loyal deputy. 

Pickles: Poor mild-mannered Sharizat. Why do you even put up with this nonsense? And why exactly do the rest of the women in Wanita UMNO put up with this bad-tempered makcik? Terlalu banyak makan budi ke 😉

It was meltdown time for the Iron Lady. 

Even as people were trying to absorb the implications of the new Cabinet on Tuesday, speculation was rife that Rafidah was preparing to resign as leader of Wanita Umno. 

But she calmed down and was back to her usual confident self by the time she faced a packed press conference yesterday. There was no hint whatsoever of her rage the day before.  

Pickles: Fuiyoh, so terrer this makcik… can recover from her wrath so quickly. I expected to see some major drama at the PC but nothing….

She said she would not relinquish her Wanita Umno leadership, that the Cabinet was the Prime Minister’s prerogative and that her grandchildren liked the idea of her spending more time at home.  

Pickles: Sure or not the grandkids even want the tyrant granny around. Takuuuuuttttttt!!

Rafidah is 64. She has been in politics close to 40 years, 32 of which were spent in the Cabinet. And she has been, without a doubt, in a class of her own and there will be very few who can hold a candle to her accomplishments. 

At the same time, like many politicians who have overstayed, she has accumulated more than her share of political baggage. 

It is said that Abdullah had been under great pressure to drop her after the controversial Approved Permits issue several years ago. But she survived the Cabinet reshuffle in 2006. 

Sources said that even before the general election, the Prime Minister had been soliciting feedback from people about the prospect of retiring Rafidah. The feedback he got was that it was time for her to go. 

Another reason for her exclusion is that the Government is anticipating complications over the issue of her not signing her nomination form during the elections.  

Her PAS opponent will likely file a complaint and there has been a precedent of a candidate being disqualified for not signing his nomination form. 

Some suggest that the Cabinet line-up also says a lot of the Prime Minister’s intentions for the Umno elections due later this year. 

His appointment of Shahrizat as women’s affairs adviser and Azalina as Tourism Minister is seen as a hint of the future hierarchy of Wanita Umno. 

Pickles: Does this mean makcik will no longer be at the top of Wanita Umno after August 2008?

But, of course, the final outcome lies with the women’s wing and also whether Rafidah will let go gracefully or fight like a tigress to stay on.

Pickles: Doesn’t matter really. UMNO is so irrelevant!