Rafidah gives Harapan a lashing: ‘Your stupid manifesto stopped you, is it?’

“Why? Why? Why? Your stupid manifesto stopped you is it?”

(Mkini) – Former minister Rafidah Aziz gave Pakatan Harapan leaders a lashing today for having to backtrack on what she said were good decisions due to their election manifesto.

One such decision was the initial plan to have Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad to also take on the portfolio of education minister.

“I’m sorry that Mahathir didn’t become education minister. When at first, he told me he was going to (become education minister), I was so thrilled.

“I said ‘That’s very great sir, good,’ and then two days later everybody objected.

“Why? Why? Why? Your stupid manifesto stopped you is it?” she said during the ‘New Malaysia: Forging ahead together’ panel at the ‘Malaysia: A new dawn” conference in Kuala Lumpur.

Also sharing the stage with Rafidah were Harapan MPs for Damansara and Setiawangsa, Tony Pua and Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, as well as Bersatu strategy and policy bureau chief Rais Hussin.

As Rafidah took it out on the Harapan leaders on the panel with her finger pointed at them, Pua, who was seated next to her, could be seen smiling and on occasion, backing away from the ex-minister once dubbed the ‘Iron Lady’.

Rafidah said Mahathir had initially shared with her his ideas for the country’s education system.

“I was so thrilled, I went back and told my kids – my God – this man at 93 has such ideas,” she said.

Rafidah also warned the Harapan government that it could lose power if it could not make important decisions due to being hamstrung by its manifesto.

“Don’t let your manifesto shackle you moving forward, you may end up as a one-term government, you know.”

When announcing his cabinet, Mahathir had initially indicated that he would also be taking the education portfolio.

He later walked back the decision after it was pointed out to him that one of the promises in the Harapan manifesto is that the prime minister cannot hold other portfolios.

The promise was drafted with the intention of breaking the convention of the prime minister also occupying the position of finance minister, thereby concentrating vast power and resources in one post.

However, the general wording in the manifesto meant that it would also apply to all portfolios.

Bersatu’s Simpang Renggam MP Maszlee Malik was eventually appointed education minister.