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APEC Rafidah Nafi, Pemberita Pasti
By Man Kubur
15/11/2000 3:39 am Wed
SIDANG APEC BERCELARU, RAFIDAH TIDAK MENGAKU?
Saya mengumpulkan rencana mengenai APEC dari pelbagai sumber
untuk tatapan pembaca. Ini termasuklah pemberitaan oleh
media tempatan. Etika kewartawanan akan dapat dibaca dan
dikesan dari pelbagai lapuran tersebut.
Saya lebih berminat dengan rencana AFP di bawah ini kerana
ia memerhati semua gerak dan geri, termasuk membaca aksi Rafidah
yang dahulu dan terkini. Mulut Rafidah yang cepat menembak seperti
peluru machine-gun itu mencetuskan pelbagai kontroversi, sehingga
beberapa media melabelkan beliau sebagai "Madam Rapid Fire" atau
"Mak Cik Cepat Tembak". Penafian beliau mencetus perang mulut lagi
menjadi berita sensasi di APEC, sehingga banyak media melapurkannya.
Masakan tidak ada angin kalau pohon sudah bergoyang?
RAKAMAN PEMBERITA PROFESSIONAL
Di sidang APEC kali ini Rafidah menafikan beliau telah merosakkan
keharuman Sidang Apec dengan menggunakan perkataan yang tidak
sopan semasa bertengkar dengan Charlene, wakil dari A.S.
Kedua-dua mereka menyangkal lapuran media, tetapi wajah muram
dan gelagat mereka berdua itu sudah dapat dibaca terlebih awal
oleh para pemberita yang professional dari AFP.
Detik itu tercatat bila Rafidah terserempak dengan wartawan
semasa meninggalkan sidang. Tumpuan wartawan yang ketagihan berita
itu di jawab dengan komen ringkas dan malas:
"Komen saya ialah saya lapar, saya hendak pergi makan tengahari"
Rafidah selalunya mudah bercakap panjang lebar dalam situasi lain.
Tidakkah sikap beliau yang tergesa-gesa itu menggambarkan ada
sesuatu yang merimaskan beliau? (... terlepas cakap).
Sebelum kes tersebut Rafidah telah dikritik oleh wakil dari
Australia kerana "sikit-sikit menyelak agenda".
Sewaktu sidang APEC 1998, Rafidah telah membidas al Gore dan
AlBright yang disifatkan sebagai "campurtangan dalam urusan tempatan".
Nama Rafidah sebenarnya sudah hampir pupus bersama angka FDI.
Beliau asyik timbul-tenggelam seperti orang hampir kelemasan.
Rencana AFP mengimbau kembali bagaimana beliau pernah menang tipis
12 undi sahaja dalam pemilihan ketua Wanita UMNO. Malah nama Rafidah
pernah di'boo' oleh delegasi umno sendiri satu waktu dulu dalam
perhimpunan agung umno. Ucapan delegasi negeri Kedah, Badruldin Amiruldin,
disambut dengan sorakkan 'boo' bila nama Rafidah disebut. Badruldin
kemudiannya menyebut: "Rafidah perlu zip mulut sendiri"
Walau apapun - inilah gelagat seorang lagi pemimpin barua kerajaan
Mahathir Muhammad yang masih tidak sedarkan diri. Padahal hanya
tinggal kurang dua bulan sahaja lagi.
- Man Kubur -
Tuesday, November 14 9:25 AM SGT
Malaysia's Madam Rapid Fire trains sights on US
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Nov 14 (AFP) -
Malaysia's "Madam Rapid Fire" is once again strafing the United States as she
battles for the rights of poorer nations in a global economy.
Trade Minister Rafidah Aziz, awarded the nickname by the Malaysian press for
her forthright manner and machine-gun speech, is no stranger to controversy.
And the portly 57-year-old appears to like the opportunity afforded by the
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum to lock horns with the United
As the US and other powerful developed economies in APEC demanded a new
round of World Trade Organisation (WTO) talks in 2001, the fiesty Rafidah from
developing Malaysia refused to be bowed.
"They can jolly well say 2001, but they are kidding themselves," she said, aware
that APEC relies on consensus agreement.
Without a fixed agenda for the WTO, any demand on setting a timetable would be
"a futile exercise for anybody who wants anything to come out of APEC."
Rafidah and US Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky clashed during the
APEC ministerial meeting in Brunei over setting a date for a new WTO round.
"They exchanged words that can be considered not polite," said a participant
from Taiwan on Monday.
A stern-looking Barshefsky refused to discuss the row as she left the meeting's
morning session, which was preparing an APEC leaders' communique to be
issued on Thursday.
But she later denied there was any animosity between her and Rafidah. "No, no,
no, we are very good friends," she told reporters.
Rafidah was engulfed by the press pack when she emerged from the session.
Singing to herself as she elbowed her way through the crowd, leaving bruised
toes in her wake, she said only: "My comment is I'm hungry, I'm going to lunch."
Rafidah has been quicker to speak out on other occasions.
In November 1998, reporters sat stunned as Rafidah and US Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright sparred at a joint APEC news conference over the fate of
Malaysia's imprisoned former deputy prime minister, Anwar Ibrahim.
Albright had abused Malaysian hospitality during that APEC summit and "she
should know what to do as our guest," Rafidah complained after the secretary of
state had called for Anwar to receive a fair trial.
At the same APEC meeting, Rafidah slammed a speech by US Vice President Al
Gore voicing support for Anwar's reform movement.
"It's the most digusting speech I have ever heard in my life. I hope I never live to
hear another one from anyone like that," she said.
"There are narrow-minded people in this world, but certainly that reflects an
unabashed intervention into local affairs."
But while sticking up for the Malaysian government against the US, Rafidah has
not escaped attracting hostility from domestic quarters.
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad was forced to tell delegates at his ruling
party's annual meeting in May to stop booing Rafidah.
Rafidah regained the leadership of the women's wing of the United Malays
National Organisation (UMNO) by just 12 votes. She blamed the cat-calls on her
campaign against vote-buying at the annual meeting.
Delegates booed Rafidah when Kedah state delegate Badruldin Amiruldin
mentioned her name during a debate. Badruldin, while decrying the reaction,
quipped that Rafidah "needs to zip her mouth."
The minister responded: "I am hardly a kind of witch ... far from it."
Tuesday, November 14 12:19 PM SGT
US, Malaysia deny row over timing of trade talks
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Nov 14 (AFP) -
The United States and Malaysia Tuesday denied any row over global trade talks
at the APEC ministerial meeting which accepted Kuala Lumpur's plea for an
agenda to be set ahead of US demands for talks in 2001.
Delegates from other member economies within the Asia-Pacific Economic
Cooperation (APEC) forum said there had been an undiplomatic exchange
between US Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky and Malaysian Trade
Minister Rafidah Aziz.
"It's a blatant lie ... there must be an ulterior motive," Rafidah told the Malaysian
news agency Bernama.
Barshefsky, heading to a private meeting with Rafidah away from the APEC
confines on Tuesday, said it was impossible for the two women to have had an
exchange of words on the timing of a new World Trade Organisation (WTO) round.
"When I did my WTO intervention, Rafidah had not yet arrived in the country and
when she did her intervention I was not in the room," Barshefsky told reporters.
"This exchange never happened. We were never in the room at the same time"
discussing free trade.
A Taiwan official in the two-day ministerial meeting here claimed there had been
an exchange of words "that can be considered not polite," and a Chilean delegate
referred to a heated exchange.
The United States has been leading a drive for new WTO talks in 2001, saying the
trade initiative aborted at the protest-plagued Seattle WTO meeting a year ago
needed to be kick-started as soon as possible.
But the end-of-meeting statement from trade and foreign ministers in the
21-member forum called for a new round of WTO talks "at the earliest
opportunity," supporting Malaysia's call to set an agenda first.
"We did have an exchange when we were in the room at the same time ... she
(Rafidah) had an idea on e-commerce which was a great idea which I supported
and she supported our task force idea for WTO," Barshefsky said.
"Her point was that APEC does a lot of work on mobility of labour but no work on
bringing together the sort of key IT professionals in the APEC region.
"That's never been done which seems very odd when you consider APEC's focus
on the tech issues. So everyone agreed that ought to be the next area that the
committee in APEC on labour mobility starts to put together."
Nov 13, 2000
Gore a busybody, says Rafidah
Malaysian Trade and Industry Minister Rafidah Aziz sharply criticised US
Vice-President Al Gore, as she has in the past, for siding with opposition
leader Anwar Ibrahim two years ago when he led a reform movement against
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed.
Mr Gore did that while making a speech to a summit of the Asian-Pacific
Economic Cooperation forum in 1998 in Malaysia, where he had gone in place
of US President Bill Clinton.
At the time, Anwar's supporters were trying to interrupt the summit with
anti-government protests in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur.
The Malaysian government was infuriated by Mr Gore's remarks, which
officials compared to an incitement of violence and support of terrorism,
not to mention a violation of Apec's agreement to avoid discussing the
internal affairs of its 21 members.
Anwar was jailed, beaten up by prison guards and later convicted of s###my
and corruption and jailed for 15 years.
In an interview on Sunday with Dow Jones during this year's annual Apec
meeting in Brunei, Mrs Rafidah attacked Mr Gore's "busybody attitude".
"He and his big mouth. He doesn't know what's happening," she said, looking
back on Mr Gore's speech. "It's sheer stupidity to try and comment on
something that, first of all, it's not correct and secondly that irritates
a whole lot of Malaysians.
A week ago, Dr Mahathir was quoted by Malaysian media that he would be
sorry if Mr Gore won the Nov 7 presidential election.
Mrs Rafidah said her government has no preference over the choice of a new
US president, provided whoever wins does not interfere in the affairs of
"What we expect is that the President of the US should have the interests
of all countries at heart and not try to push their views around, not to
become the great policeman of the world and push the US democracy concept
down everybody's throats...and don't interfere in internal affairs of
countries," she said.
In the United States, a recount is under way to try to see who won the
presidential election, which ended with a near tie between Mr Gore and his
opponent, Texas Governor George W. Bush. -- AP
November 13 , 2000 21:35PM
APEC: RAFIDAH DENIES BEING INVOLVED IN UNDIPLOMATIC ROW WITH CHARLENE
By S.Durga Varma
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Nov 13 (Bernama) -- International Trade and Industry
minister, Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz today strongly denied that she was
involved in an undiplomatic row with US trade representative Charlene
Barshefsky during the Apec ministerial meeting which ended today.
"All these reporting by the foreign media is utter rubbish. This is just to
create mischief," she said when asked to comment on a foreign wire agency
report that said Malaysia and the US rowed at the Apec ministers' meeting
as attempts to reach a consensus on the crunch issue of global trade talks
Rafidah said: "Charlene and I work very well together. Infact she
(Charlene) supports me on our (Malaysia's) information technology and
e-commerce proposals and also on the fact that a new World Trade
Organisation (WTO) round cannot be launched without an agenda."
She said that they would have a private meeting tomorrow.
Rafidah added that they were good friends who have been consulting each
other on many issues in the past.
"It's a blatant lie on the part of any foeign media to cast and inject such
rubbish. I detest such kind of media reporting. There must be an ulterior
motive," she said, asking the foreign media to ask Barshefshy for her
comments on the matter.
Barshefsky, when approached by the foreign media, had said that there was
no animosity between her and Rafidah.
Meanwhile, Apec officials to the meeting here, said that Malaysia had begun
to win over Asian allies in its bid to prevent Apec demanding a new round
of trade liberalisation talks at the WTO next year.
The US has been leading the drive for talks in 2001, saying that the trade
initiative aborted at Seattle a year ago needed to be kick-started as soon
Subject: Star : Rafidah pulls carpet from under the critics
From The Star
Rafidah pulls carpet from under the critics
Comment by SHAHANAAZ SHER HABIB
IT WAS vintage Rafidah Aziz.
The Malaysian International Trade and Industry Minister may have
arrived for the Apec ministerial meeting in Brunei a little later than
her 20 other colleagues in the forum, reaching here only after the
lunch session on Sunday.
But without doubt, she stole the thunder.
The newspapers here frontpaged her comments and all the wire services
flashed her "agenda first before launching a new World Trade
Organisation (WTO) round'' comments as if it was the most important
statement coming out from the meeting.
Only hours earlier, Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer took
reporters by surprise when he said Malaysia had agreed to launch a new
round of talks for the WTO as soon as possible.
However, pressed further on whether they agreed to the 2001 date to
get the talks going, he was a little elusive.
"I can only tell you that the Malaysians have made it clear that
they'd like to see a WTO round launched as soon as possible--to use
the phrase they used,'' he said.
Some took this to mean a U-turn in Malaysia's stance and that it would
commit to the 2001 date that the United States has been pushing for.
But such a turnabout would have been shocking and somewhat out of
character for Malaysia.
And so when Rafidah finally arrived, she was immediately ambushed and
the outspoken minister, as usual, spoke her mind.
Even later in the evening, when she gave a briefing to the Malaysian
press--foreign reporters flocked outside waiting, hoping they would be
allowed in to hear more.
Dealing a blow at critics for labelling Malaysia as being
anti-a-new-WTO-round, Rafidah called this rubbish.
"I would love to see a new round launched as soon as possible,'' she
She added, however, it would be ridiculous to do this without an
As for the phrase "as soon as possible,'' it all boils down to
For Rafidah, "as soon as possible'' could even mean the year 2005.
Never one to mince her words, she said it was "politically true'' and
even "politically nice'' to use the phrase "as soon as possible.''
"Everybody would say 'as soon as possible' but try to put a date on
it--then you are being unrealistic,'' she said.
She said Apec had to look at the practical side of things like getting
an agreement on a viable agenda sorted out first.
"If there is no agenda, then what are countries going to talk about?''
A pertinent point. More so for developing countries who have always
had to face the problem of social clauses or environment or labour and
non-trade issues being insidiously sneaked into trade talks.
Such clauses, as noble sounding as they may be, are not so noble in
intention. They tend to wipe out the competitive edge developing
countries enjoy such as low labour cost.
Putting in contentious non-trade issues would only tip the already
uneven playing field more in favour of developed countries that were
already way ahead in expertise and technology.
And wasn't it the violent backlash from concern that globalisation was
hurting smaller and developing nations that caused the WTO talks in
Seattle in December to collapse?
"We were gravely wrong in Seattle.
"Let's not repeat that fiasco,'' said Rafidah.
She went as far as to suggest a target date of the middle of next year
for Apec to put together some semblance of a good agenda.
"Then we can start talking about launching a new round,'' she said.
On Sunday, she seemed a lone voice speaking against the tide.
She denied it, saying Malaysia's views were shared by many other
countries who were just not so vocal.
She said Malaysia was vocal on the side of the majority and did not
want the rest of the world to be bulldozed by the very vocal (yet
Hong Kong commerce and industry secretary Chau Tak Hau was one of the
few who spoke up on Sunday for his good friend Rafidah.
He said the position she was taking was not in conflict with what Hong
Kong was seeking and he agreed on the need for a manageable and
On Monday by lunch time, it was evident that Rafidah was not a lone
voice and that the tide had turned in her favour.
A number of ministers came out in support of her agenda-first comment,
some even to the extent of reversing the stand they had taken the
It is also interesting that Apec decided to take on the WTO agenda at
The rationale given was the grouping of 21 economies made up
two-thirds of the world economy and so what was decided here would
lead the way for WTO to help the collapsed talks.
Yet, it is interesting to note that four Apec member economies--China,
Taiwan, Russia and Vietnam--are not yet WTO members to begin with.
So why use this forum to push for a new round in the first place?
Surely, it would make more sense for Apec to champion for the speedy
admission of these four economies into the WTO instead.
Apec, in its effort to emerge as the new champion of the WTO, should
not take on more than it can chew.
For a start, it could begin by addressing the real concerns expressed
at the street demonstrations in Seattle.
Then the Apec 2000 theme, Delivering to the Community, might really
make a difference to the people in the streets.
Albright decides to accompany Clinton to Brunei
WASHINGTON, Nov 7 (AFP) -
US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has decided to accompany President
Bill Clinton to next week's Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in
Brunei in what will likely be her last official trip to Asia, a senior State Department
official said Tuesday.
Albright, who will still miss this weekend's APEC ministerial meeting to attend
Middle East peace talks here, is to leave for Brunei with Clinton on Air Force One
following a White House meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak on
Sunday, the official said.
"She has decided it's important for her to attend the bilateral meetings the
president will have with his Asia Pacific counterparts," the official said on
condition of anonymity.
Another senior official said Albright would also hold her own bilateral meetings
with as many foreign ministers as she could while in Brunei.
Albright does not plan, however, to accompany Clinton on his historic trip to
Vietnam following the APEC summit, and will return directly to the United States
from Brunei, the officials said.
The United States will be represented at the APEC foreign ministers meeting by
Undersecretary of State for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs Alan
Larson, the officials said.