Let us not make a mockery of Pemilihan 2010

Zaid Ibrahim

I have shared in several interviews and made suggestions on Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s future leadership, but many of the enthusiastic responses made in mainstream and alternative media have not focused on them.

As I have reiterated in earlier statements and in other interviews, Pemilihan 2010 is a landmark occasion for the country and for the party, and is a platform for us to deliver on the promises at the last general elections. Many party leaders have not addressed this, and have proven themselves to be narrow-minded and misguided by focusing on petty issues.

Any political pundit worth his or her salt ought to be able to see the larger picture, as I have offered myself to provide leadership based on sound policies and principles. There can be no formidable Pakatan Rakyat if PKR does not move on from being a party consistently dealing with internal issues.

With that, I draw your attention to an article by Joceline Tan in her October 8 commentary in The Star. The gist of her article: My campaign is uninspiring, far from visionary, and that I have been making so many boo-boos that Azmin can ‘sit pretty’ and claim his trophy effortlessly. She also described me as a loose cannon and said that many are astonished at the many controversial statements I had made.

She first said that I have alienated party leaders. But consider that the statements made and first shots fired by the party leaders are humiliating not only for me, but also for the party. Perhaps Tan does not remember these accusations. There is the press conference with the so called 20 MPs, their labeling of me as being untested, the questioning of my loyalty and contributions to Pakatan Rakyat, the allegations that I am a ‘Trojan Horse’ and frontman for businessmen and the United Malay National Organisation (UMNO)!

All these only prove my point above; when is PKR going to evolve into a party that is forward thinking and able to offer sound policies to the rakyat? Is this the kind of leadership we have to offer our political partners in Pakatan? I would like to see them debate on issues, on policies and principles, not my loyalty and so-called inexperience as those are for the members to decide.

Further in her analysis of my various missteps, she judged that my blog entry was not a smart move because it would upset Anwar since (according to her) that analogy was one of the more awkward aspects of Anwar’s ambitions in UMNO. There were definite instructions from higher ups not to nominate me, and Tan would have discovered for herself if she visited various Cabangs. I was not comparing my fate to Ghafar Baba’s. The crux of my message, if Tan read my blog thoroughly, is that the incident should serve as a reminder to PKR not to emulate the UMNO culture.

She also described the interview with Mingguan Malaysia as my biggest ‘sin’. To me, it does not make a difference whether Mingguan Malaysia interviewed me or not. Let us consider this: would I be embraced with kindness and have all my ‘sins’ forgiven by these leaders had I joined the boycott of the newspaper? The answer is no. So, Joceline Tan, unless you can offer an exclusive with The Star, I have the right to share my message to publications who want to carry them, be it in print or online. The readers of Utusan are members of the Malaysian public. It is my belief that Keadilan should make itself available to all media outlets in the interest of the rakyat.

Before the nominations started, I said that I would give way to Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim. That is true, because I had conveyed exactly that to him in person. But he did not seem sure at the time and he received so few nominations compared to me, hence I thought he did not want to compete. Surely Tan does not expect me to ignore the wishes of almost 40 Cabangs who wanted me to contest, just because journalists like her brand me a ‘flip flop’?