IF THERE is one individual who deserves every right to be hyper critical over Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz’s appointment as the International Trade and Industry Minister, it ought to be the ministry’s longest serving minister herself, Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz.
In her open letter to congratulate newly minted Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim for his new Cabinet line-up, the “Iron Lady of MITI” as Rafidah is widely known, lamented that the Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman has “accidentally spilled two spoonsful of the indigo dye into that pot of newly boiled milk”.
Describing the oversight as “quite jarring, unnecessary and raises so many questions” – although she did not mention the names of the two individuals that she was referring to – her description of their background is befitting of Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) I Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and her ‘junior’ MITI successor Tengku Zafrul.
Commenting on Zafrul’s appointment, the 79-year-old Rafidah who led MITI for 21 years was in rage, claiming “there is that ‘optics’ of scraping the barrel when you appointed someone who lost in the national poll, rejected by the voters and to re-appoint the person as a senator to make him a minister”.
“Where is the credibility when losers are taken on board? There are others – perhaps more suitable – for you to appoint,” she hit out via a Facebook post, lacing her verbal lashing with the Malay proverb cemar susu sebelanga kerana dua sudu nila (literally, “the whole container of milk is spoiled because of two spoonsful of indigo dye”).
Apart from Tengku Zafrul, Rafidah also went ballistic against the nomination of Zahid as DPM I in view of his pending court cases.
“First, why need to appoint as DPM no less someone awaiting outcomes of an unbelievably long list of cases on corruption?” asked the former UMNO Wanita chief.
“Yes, some say one is presumed innocent until proven guilty, but if the person is finally found guilty, then you have to get a replacement DPM! Why be ‘pressured’ to appoint now? There is already one DPM in place (referring to Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof).”
Added Rafidah: “Anyway, those are two totally unnecessary albatrosses around your neck! All I can say is Good Luck to you.”
Meanwhile, Zafrul, on his Facebook page has thanked Anwar for his appointment as Senator and as the MITI Minister.
“Today, I have been entrusted with the responsibility of being a member of the Senate for the second term. This is a huge responsibility, especially when Malaysia needs to continue our post-COVID recovery momentum,” he penned in his Facebook post.
“I would like to thank the PM DS Anwar for the heavy responsibility given to me. I would also like to thank DS Zahid and the UMNO party leadership.
“InsyaAllah, with His permission, I will carry out my duties as a senator with full trust and integrity, and to ensure that the voice of the people continues to be raised in the Dewan Rakyat to ensure the well-being and prosperity of all races, religions and nations.” – Dec 3, 2022