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M'sia's Rafidah expresses hurt over cabinet departure
Wed, Mar 19, 2008
AFP

KUALA LUMPUR - MALAYSIA'S former trade minister Rafidah Aziz expressed hurt on Wednesday over being dropped from the new post-election cabinet after two decades in the job.

Ms Rafidah said Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had told her of the decision only hours before it was announced, and that she was given no reason for being ousted.

'I wish Pak Lah had told me earlier on not to contest. He allowed me to contest. But I am also a human being,' she said, using the prime minister's nickname.

However, the firebrand political veteran put on a brave face over the decision, saying she would now have more time to spend with her family and as head of the ruling party's influential women's wing.

'Thirty two years in government service and 20 years as minister, I am blessed and content,' she said.

'I am so happy I served for so long, it's nothing to feel down about.'

Ms Rafidah said she was confident that the ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) would recover from its worst election performance in history in March 8 polls.

The Barisan Nasional coalition led by UMNO lost its two-thirds majority for the first time since 1969 and conceded four more states to a resurgent opposition, in a debacle that triggered calls for Abdullah to resign.

UMNO heavyweight Muhyiddin Yassin replaced Ms Rafidah at the ministry of international trade and industry. -- AFP

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