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Former International Trade and Industry Minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz is now among the high-powered 16-member Economic Action Council (EAC) that advises Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on ways to address Malaysia's economic problems. NST photo by Awadi Alias.

KUALA LUMPUR: Nobody should pre-empt God's will and that includes her, according to former International Trade and Industry Minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz.

She was responding to a question from a participant in the Women in Rail conference today, if she aspired to be Malaysia's first female prime minister.

"Nobody should pre-empt The Almighty. When you ask me that question, it's like asking 'can you choose your death date?' Once you chase a position, your motivation would have changed already.

"This year, I am 76 years old. When I was 30 years old, I was already a senator. I was United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) vice president for 22 years before I left politics. I continue to contribute to society in many ways," she said.

Rafidah is among the high-powered 16-member Economic Action Council (EAC) that advises Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on ways to address Malaysia's economic problems.

In February, the Prime Minister’s Office announced the setting up of the 16-member EAC to recommend practical solutions to help the government solve Malaysia's economic issues.

This morning in Putrajaya, the EAC held its fourth meeting. When asked for an update, Rafidah smiled and said: "You all in the media know the EAC chairman is the prime minister. How about asking Tun Dr Mahathir? He is the spokesman for EAC."

Rafidah, who is AirAsia X Bhd chairman, declined comments over remarks about Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAS) by veteran journalist Datuk Kadir Jasin as well as the turnaround proposal by AirAsia Bhd Group co-founder and former chairman Datuk Pahamin Abdul Rajab.

She cited AirAsia X, as a public listed entity practising good governance, must refrain from making forward-looking statements.

Kadir recently said sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Bhd had undertaken four turnaround initiatives on MAS. "They all failed and cost the government some RM25 billion in all," he posted on his Facebook.

In another Facebook posting, he suggested that AirAsia Group can rescue MAS. He also said the government can no longer wait because the issue of MAS’ turnaround had long been delayed, with no signs of progress.

Pahamin, meanwhile, recently told the media his desire to rescue debt-laden MAS. He reportedly said his suggestion with five entrepreneurs was not based on any commercial considerations, but rather on his strong love for the country.

Pahamin also promised not to slash jobs, if his initiative to take over MAS materialises.

Rafidah said as a member of the board of directors in AirAsia X, she did not subscribe to gender manifestation.

"I don't believe in the 30 per cent quota fulfillment because it can lead to women reducing themselves into being quota fillers,” she said, referring to the 30% Club.

The 30% Club started as a campaign in the UK in 2010 with a goal of achieving a minimum of 30 per cent women to be on board of directors in the Top 100 public listed companies on the stock market.

The 30% Club was launched in Malaysia in 2015.

"Jobs should be based on merit. They should be competent, they should be knowledgeable and skilled for the job, regardless of their gender," Rafidah said.

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