Zaid Ibrahim: “It will get better”

By Shanon Shah, The Nut Graph

LAWYER-turned-politician Datuk Mohd Zaid Ibrahim, 60, knows that politics can be a dirty game. He joined Umno and won the Kota Baru parliamentary seat in the 2004 general election. The party did not field him for the 2008 elections, however. After winning with a severely reduced majority, the ruling coalition under Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi nevertheless appointed Zaid senator and minister in the prime minister’s department.

As minister, Zaid made the headlines when he advocated a restoration of judicial independence, and opposed Malay supremacy and the abuse of the Internal Security Act (ISA), among others. In fact, his resignation as minister in September 2008 in protest of the ISA made headlines everywhere. He was subsequently sacked from Umno for being too chummy with the federal opposition, and joined Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) in 2009.

In April 2010, he was fielded as PKR’s candidate for the Hulu Selangor parliamentary by-election. Almost immediately, he was attacked by the Umno-owned media for drinking alcohol, and subsequently lost. Later that year, Zaid contested in the PKR party polls for the deputy presidency, but eventually withdrew from the race and party, alleging that PKR’s leadership condoned malpractice. In December 2010, he was elected to lead political party Angkatan Keadilan Insan Malaysia and renamed it Kesejahteraan Insan Tanah Air.

Zaid sat down with The Nut Graph for this exclusive interview in Petaling Jaya on 18 March 2010, back when he was still with PKR and gearing up for Hulu Selangor.