KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil will step down as Minister of Women, Family and Community Development when her term as Dewan Negara member ends on April 8.
Shahrizat, who made the announcement yesterday, said she will continue as Wanita Umno chief and Wanita Barisan Nasional chief as entrusted by the party.
The decision was made after giving it much thought, she said.
She said a letter effective April 8 is ready and will be sent to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
“I want to do the right thing. I think for me now, the right thing is to leave my post as a Cabinet Minister. The time has come.
“I want to also make sure that whatever decision I made is the right decision. I made the decision on my own,” she said after launching Jalinan Kasih LPPKN programme, here.
Asked whether the decision was made following the NFC scandal, Shahrizat said she has nothing to do with the issue.
“I really have nothing to do with NFC. I am married to the chairman of NFC, a company with a beef production project in Gemas, Negweri Sembilan.
“As a member of government, I feel that the right thing for me to do is to step down.
“I have the greatest respect for the government and for the Prime Minister. I am not only a leader, I am also a wife and a mother. I know what to do, and I did the right thing.”
Shahrizat pointed out that she wanted to ensure that when she steps down, the investigation on NFC would carry on and would wait for the outcome.
She said the days leading to April 8 will be spent attending programmes agreed earlier and to focus on the Social Workers Act.
The Social Workers Act will be completed by the secretary-general of the ministry and Policy Division to make it a reality.
Shahrizat said this is the best time for her to step down as her term ends on April 8.
She thanked the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers who gave good cooperation while she was performing duties as a minister.
“I am happy that after 10 years leading the ministry and agencies, we are able to bring changes, especially for our target group, namely women, families, the disabled, children, and isues on welfare, community development, senior citizens and others.” She said after the establishment of the ministry, various changes could be implemented, especially involving constitutional amendment that no longer discriminated against women and families.
“Since the amendment, alhamdulillah, some changes and development for women could be implemented,” said Shahrizat.
She thanked Wanita Umno and Wanita BN component parties as in her 31 years as an Umno member, Wanita Umno has become a powerful force that fought for Malaysians.
Calls for Shahrizat’s resignation were made after she was implicated with the National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) issue.
He husband Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Salleh Ismail is executive chairman of NFC.
This followed the Auditor-General’s Report 2010 released last Oct last year stating that NFC failed to meet its objective.
The opposition seized the opportunity by alleging misappropriation of government allocation of RM250mil allocated to NFC.
Shahrizat took three weeks ministerial leave starting Jan 13 and left it to Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) to investigate the issue.
On Feb 8, she went to make a statement at MACC office in Putrajaya to assist the investigation into the issue.
Among those who called for her resignation were former Wanita Umno chief Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz and former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Shahrizat was the first minister to lead the Ministry of Women Affairs and Family in 2001.
The ministry later changed its name to Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development.
She held the post only until March 2008 after failing to defend her Lembah Pantai parliamentary seat in the general election.
Shahrizat was then appointed as women and social development affairs advisor to the prime minister.
She again became Minister of Women, Family and Community Development after being appointed as a senator from April 9, 2009. — Bernama