Zaid vows Kita’s big presence in next GE

By Clara Chooi, The Malaysian Insider

Datuk Zaid Ibrahim has confidently warned his political foes that his Kesejahteraan Insan Tanah Air (Kita) party would have a “big presence” in the next general election despite only being a tiny 300-member group.

The maverick politician insisted that although the party would be dwarfed by both the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) and Barisan Nasional (BN) in terms of size, it could cow both coalitions with the quality of its candidates.

“Of course we will. Yes, we already have a number of candidates. I cannot tell you how many but yes, I will be one of them.

“We have a small membership, only about 300, but it is not the membership that determines support, it is the quality of our leaders. I am not in the numbers game,” he told The Malaysian Insider in an exclusive interview recently.

The marginal Kelantan-based party was formerly known as Angkatan Keadilan Insan Malaysia (Akim) but changed its name after electing Zaid as its president last week.

He said that while Kita only had 300 members now, its numbers could multiply quickly in the next few months, in time to face the elections.

The former Umno minister also claimed that while his enemies have already discounted the possibility of Kita making a difference in the country’s political landscape, he believed he had “already made a difference”.

“I believe I have already made a lot of difference. So of course, of course our presence will be felt,” said the lawyer by training who made his fortune from the country’s largest law partnership that continues to bear his name.

Zaid also claimed that he was funding Kita, saying that the party was currently pooling its resources in preparation for the coming polls, widely speculated to be held by early next year.

Kita’s election coffers, he insisted, may not match up to those of BN’s or even PR’s but its candidates would draw their support based on good policies and ideologies instead of engaging in petty bickering with its competitors.

“Yes, I am funding Kita. It does not cost very much because it is a very small party. And I will get our candidates to fund themselves. Yes, we do not have much, but we will do what we can according to our means.

“We have little money, so we spend little money, but we fight with our beliefs, our ideals, our policies,” he said.

Zaid has caused several uproars in his political career, beginning with his resignation as the de facto law minister under the Abdullah administration after disagreeing with the Internal Security Act (ISA) arrests of several individuals, including a journalist and DAP MP Teresa Kok.

The outspoken leader was subsequently sacked from Umno but later found solace in PKR in June last year, helping its de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim boost a popularity that had taken a severe beating after his infamous September 16 government takeover promise.

Zaid was appointed to the party’s powerful political bureau and was even named as a candidate for the Hulu Selangor by-election earlier this year.

Despite this, the leader’s stint in PKR did not last and Zaid quit recently, complaining of election malpractices and irregularities during his contest for the deputy presidency in the party’s first-ever direct elections.

Zaid insisted that despite his continuous struggle to the top, he was not out to gain “instant popularity” either for himself or for Kita.

“Gaining instant or fast popularity, that is not what I am out to do. You have to win based on something substantive. I am not fighting with them (PR and BN) in that sense, I do not have to play their game.