Rafidah Aziz

Rafidah binti Aziz (Jawi: رفيدة بنت عزيز; born 4 November 1943) is a Malaysian politician who was Member of Parliament (MP) for the Selayang from 1978 to 1982 and Kuala Kangsar constituency from 1982 to 2013. Born in Kuala Kangsar, Perak, Rafidah was Minister of International Trade and Industry from 1987 to 2008. As minister, she was the chairman of MATRADE beginning in 1991. She was a veteran politician from United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) of Barisan Nasional (BN) until 2018.[1]

Rafidah Aziz
رفيدة بنت عزيز
Rafidah Aziz in 2002
Minister of International Trade and Industry
In office
27 October 1990  18 March 2008
MonarchsAzlan Shah
Mizan Zainal Abidin
Prime MinisterMahathir Mohamad
Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
DeputyChua Jui Meng (1990–1995)
Kerk Choo Ting (1995–2004)
Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah (2004–2008)
Mah Siew Keong (2004–2006)
Ng Lip Yong (2006–2008)
Preceded byHerself as Minister of Trade and Industry
Succeeded byMuhyiddin Yassin
ConstituencyKuala Kangsar
Minister of Trade and Industry
In office
20 May 1987  26 October 1990
Azlan Shah
Prime MinisterMahathir Mohamad
DeputyKok Wee Kiat
Preceded byTengku Razaleigh Hamzah
Succeeded byHerself (International Trade and Industry)
Sulaiman Daud (Domestic Trade)
ConstituencyKuala Kangsar
Minister of Public Enterprises
In office
29 July 1980  20 May 1987
MonarchsAhmad Shah
Prime MinisterHussein Onn
Mahathir Mohamad
DeputyDaud Taha (1986–1987)
Preceded byAbdul Manan Othman
Succeeded byNapsiah Omar
Kuala Kangsar
Women Chief of United Malay National Organisation
In office
16 January 2000  26 March 2009
PresidentMahathir Mohamad
Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
Preceded bySiti Zaharah Sulaiman
Succeeded byShahrizat Abdul Jalil
In office
24 April 1987  9 October 1996
PresidentMahathir Mohamad
Preceded byAishah Ghani
Succeeded bySiti Zaharah Sulaiman
Member of the Malaysian Parliament
for Kuala Kangsar
In office
22 April 1982  5 May 2013
Preceded byYong Fatimah Mohd. Razali (UMNOBN)
Succeeded byWan Mohammad Khair-il Anuar Wan Ahmad (UMNOBN)
Majority8,556 (1982)
9,598 (1986)
7,994 (1990)
10,649 (1995)
2,774 (1999)
6,191 (2004)
1,458 (2008)
Member of the Malaysian Parliament
for Selayang
In office
22 July 1978  21 April 1982
Preceded byRosemary Chow Poh Kheng (MCABN)
Succeeded byRahmah Othman (UMNOBN)
Majority21,270 (1978)
Personal details
Rafidah binti Aziz

(1943-11-04) 4 November 1943
Kuala Kangsar, Perak, Japanese occupation of Malaya (now Malaysia)
Political partyUnited Malays National Organisation (UMNO) (until 2018)
Independent (since 2018)
Other political
Barisan Nasional (BN) (until 2018)
Alma materUniversity of Malaya

Early career

Rafidah graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics in 1966 and a master's degree in Economics in 1970 from the University of Malaya. She then began her career as a tutor and lecturer in the Faculty of Economics, University of Malaya from 1966 to 1976.[2]

Political career

Rafidah was an active member in the Malaysian political scene, having previously been appointed as a Member of the Malaysian Parliament. She was appointed as Senator in 1974 and resigned to contest in the General Elections in 1978. She served as Member of Parliament in the Selayang Constituency (from 1978 to 1982) and Kuala Kangsar Constituency (from 1982 to 2013). She served in the UMNO Supreme Council for 38 years since winning a seat in the council in 1975. She is Malaysia's longest-serving Minister of International Trade and Industry, having served in that capacity from 1987 to 2008. Previously, she also hold the portfolio of Minister of Public Enterprises from 1980 to 1987 and Deputy Minister of Finance from 1977 to 1980. In 1976, she was appointed as Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Public Enterprises. Rafidah was the head of United Malays National Organisation's Woman Wing (Wanita UMNO in Malay) from 1999 to 2009, before losing out in the 2009 UMNO General Assembly election to Shahrizat Abdul Jalil after seeking re-election for another term. She is holding the title of the longest serving woman MP in Malaysia from 1978 to 2013 for 35 years.

In 2006, Rafidah was accused of corruption related to the issuance of Approved Permits (AP) for importing foreign vehicles by former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in his series of criticisms against the Government of Malaysia. Mahathir had also criticised then Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's handling of the Approved Permits (AP) issue, expressing his surprise that Rafidah was still retained as a Cabinet member although two people on the list of persons issued with highest number of APs were linked to her.[3]

In March 2008, following the general election held in that month, Rafidah was dropped from cabinet, despite winning her parliamentary seat when other ministers had lost theirs. After thirty-two years in government service, and twenty years as a minister, she described herself as being "blessed and content."[4] When asked if she was saddened, she said that she wished Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had told her earlier on not to contest the election.[5]

In 2018, she was fired from UMNO ahead of the 2018 general election which saw the failure of the party and BN to maintain the power as a ruling government for the first time in history.[1]

Post political career

Rafidah currently serves as the Non-Executive Independent Chairman and Director of AirAsia X since March 3, 2011.[6] She was also the Chairman of Supermax Corporation Berhad from June 16, 2015 until her resignation on April 16, 2018.[7]

On 5 May 2018, UMNO had announced it had fired three party veterans including Rafidah with Daim Zainuddin and Rais Yatim for supporting the opposition, Pakatan Harapan then.[1][8] However she claimed she had ceased being a member of UMNO since almost a decade ago.[9]

Rafidah was appointed one of the members Economic Action Council (EAC) by the new PH government on 11 February 2019.[10][11]

Election results

Parliament of Malaysia[12]
Year Constituency Candidate Votes Pct Opponent(s) Votes Pct Ballots cast Majority Turnout
1978 P077 Selayang, Selangor Rafidah Aziz (UMNO) 38,627 66.65% Zainal Rampak (DAP) 17,357 29.95% 21,270
Zainuddin Karim (PEKEMAS) 1,973 3.40%
1982 P052 Kuala Kangsar, Perak Rafidah Aziz (UMNO) 12,159 65.27% Harikrishnan Vallappan (DAP) 3,603 19.34% 19,156 8,556 72.19%
Muhammad Harun (PAS) 2,867 15.39%
1986 P061 Kuala Kangsar, Perak Rafidah Aziz (UMNO) 16,196 71.05% Ab Aziz Ishak (PAS) 6,598 28.95% 23,452 9,598 63.94%
1990 Rafidah Aziz (UMNO) 16,548 65.92% Jamaluddin Mohd Din (S46) 8,554 34.08% 25,926 7,994 68.84%
1995 P064 Kuala Kangsar, Perak Rafidah Aziz (UMNO) 15,393 76.44% Abdul Kahlid Mohd Nasir (S46) 4,744 23.56% 20,989 10,649 65.56%
1999 Rafidah Aziz (UMNO) 12,074 56.49% Asmuni Awi (PAS) 9,300 43.51% 21,886 2,774 64.69%
2004 P067 Kuala Kangsar, Perak Rafidah Aziz (UMNO) 12,938 65.73% Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin (PAS) 6,747 34.27% 20,184 6,191 71.09%
2008 Rafidah Aziz (UMNO) 10,735 53.64% Khairuddin Abd Malik (PAS) 9,277 46.36% 20,773 1,458 73.34%

Awards and recognitions

Rafidah was the main recipient of the Nona Superwoman Award in 2018.[13]


Honours of Malaysia


  1. Sadho Ram (6 May 2018). "'Iron Lady' Rafidah Aziz And Two More UMNO Veterans Sacked For Supporting Pakatan Harapan". Says.com. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  2. "Rafidah Aziz: Executive Profile & Biography - Bloomberg". www.bloomberg.com. Retrieved 8 July 2017.
  3. "Transcript of Tun Mahathir's press conference". The Star. 24 October 2006.
  4. "M'sia's Rafidah expresses hurt over cabinet departure". www.asiaone.com. Retrieved 8 July 2017.
  5. "The Star: Wanita Umno chief not one to sulk". Archived from the original on 6 October 2012. Retrieved 8 July 2017.
  6. "Rafidah Aziz to be AirAsia X's chairman". Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  7. "Rafidah Aziz resigns as Supermax chairman". Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  8. SUHAILA SHAHRUL ANNUAR and NOOR ATIQAH SULAIMAN (5 May 2018). "Daim, Rafidah, Rais sacked from Umno". New Straits Times. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  9. IDA NADIRAH IBRAHIM (5 May 2018). "Can't sack me if I'm no longer a member, Rafidah tells Umno". Malay Mail. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  10. "Rafidah, Jomo and banker Tay appointed to Economic Action Council". Free Malaysia Today. 11 February 2019. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  11. Azura Abas (11 February 2019). "PMO announces appointment of 16 EAC members". New Straits Times. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  12. "Keputusan Pilihan Raya Umum Parlimen/Dewan Undangan Negeri". Election Commission of Malaysia. Retrieved 14 June 2010. Percentage figures based on total turnout.
  13. Afiq Ariffin, Eka Roslee (5 December 2018). "Rafidah Aziz diiktiraf Nona Superwoman of The Year 2018". Astro Awani (in Malay). Retrieved 12 May 2021.
  14. "Semakan Penerima Darjah Kebesaran, Bintang dan Pingat" (in Malay). Prime Minister's Department (Malaysia). Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  15. "Three new Tuns head awards list". The Star. 7 June 2008. Retrieved 13 October 2018.
  16. "DPMS 1979". awards.selangor.gov.my. Retrieved 6 January 2023.
  17. "Mahathir heads Sarawak honours list". The Star. Bernama. 22 July 2003. Retrieved 13 October 2018.
  18. "Najib heads Malacca awards". The Star. 13 October 2007. Retrieved 13 October 2018.
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