It’s been slightly more than a month now since I was appointed to be Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail’s deputy. My husband rightly pointed it out to me that it would be a new season of learning for me. Learning not just about issues but the leaders we serve alongside with.
I have read some news reports criticising Kak Wan about the 11 year old’s child bride issue and while the matter is now in the hands of the AG, I would like to share with you my one month observation of working directly under her leadership.
At any given time, the heart of a doctor would overshadow all the other roles she carries. You would have probably watched how she rushed off stage to check on YB Hanipa Maidin when he collapsed at the outdoor assembly. I have also personally seen how she dashed off the Deputy Prime Minister @ Minister’s chair to comfort victims of sexual harassment when they started crying sharing about their ordeal.
I have seen how she refused to bite back when some politicians attacked her publicly. She always takes the higher ground of giving people the benefit of doubt. When she commits to a cause or policy, I saw how persistent she was in having it signed, sealed and delivered.
While I admit criticism on the speed of handling the 11 year old child bride issue, I would also like you to know that we are dependant on other ministries to do their part (some of which I would have criticised openly for their lack of action but I remind myself we are now part of the same administration & correction has to be made internally, re-training is needed for our civil service & improvement has to be made asap). In these weeks, I can assure you that her utmost priority is to protect that child even at the expense of her own reputation.
I also witnessed her conversation with baby Adam’s parents (toddler found lifeless in the fridge) and observed how she covered all angles of assistance needed for the parents to move on. In other cases, she would remind me the need to look at all angles (something which I sometimes overlook in my pursuit of fast outcome).
I also saw her the morning when the late Balakong assemblyman Eddie Ng passed away in a car crash. She had to compose herself in a meeting. Professional yet her love for her comrade was evident.
Sometimes we forget how far we have come since May 9. Here is a woman who will never steal your tax money, an intelligent doctor in her own right to lead & selfless enough to make way for others. Malaysians, don’t be quick to forget the years of sacrifices made to have this #MalaysiaBaharu.
They say kindness is the highest form of wisdom. If I have any criticism at all about Kak Wan, it would have to be her kindness. Her family went through a lot but it was her kindness that has set the stage for reconciliation and healing for Malaysia in the months leading to May 9. Many politicians in the past have hurt Malaysia but her kindness will keep her away from doing that to you fellow Malaysians.
First published on Hannah’s personal facebook page.