Weakening Selangor government a more serious offence, says Zaid

By Adib Zalkapli, The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 26 — PKR deputy presidential contender Datuk Zaid Ibrahim downplayed his own critique of the party by arguing the undermining of the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) Selangor government was a greater crime.

His remarks in a Mingguan Malaysia interview published today, was an apparent reference to another PKR deputy president candidate Azmin Ali whose relationship with Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim has often been strained.

“I was in Umno for 25 years and I had always been speaking up. I cannot change my habit and if the party sacks me, then I may have to retire from politics,” said Zaid when asked if he would face disciplinary action for being too vocal.

Zaid was sacked from Umno in late 2008 for attending PKR and DAP gatherings. He joined PKR in June last year.

The former law minister has been vocal about Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s unwillingness to contest an elected position in the party, but rather stay as the iconic de facto party leader.

He has also been promoting an Anwar-Zaid ticket but the Permatang Pauh MP has declined nominations for any post in the party formed after his 1998 sacking from the government.

Zaid’s however has been criticised by some party leaders including outgoing deputy president Dr Syed Husin Ali, who accused the former Kota Bahru MP of failure to be a team player.

His interview in the Umno-owned newspaper is set to get more tongues wagging over his intentions in the party.

“What about the behaviour of some party leaders who are quietly killing the party? Isn’t that a problem too? Let say a leader tries very hard to topple the Selangor government, isn’t that an offence?” asked Zaid who is also a PKR supreme council member.

Last June a group of PKR lawmakers said to be aligned to Azmin mounted pressure on Khalid to resign as the Selangor mentri besar.

The move was made soon after Azmin’s resignation from the board of the State Development Corporation, PKNS.

The Gombak MP had denied any move to oust Khalid from office.

Azmin was later appointed Selangor PKR chief, replacing Khalid in a move to soften opposition to the state government.

“I am very open if I want to oppose a leader. If I don’t like Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, I will be very frank. I don’t like to pretend,” said Zaid.

He also reiterated his stand that the party president is the leader of the party and must be respected by PKR members.

“Many (divisions) share my views and they believe Anwar must remain as the leader so it is appropriate for him to become the president,” said Zaid when asked about nominations that Anwar has received to contest the president post.

“My loyalty is not to any person, but to the office,” he added.