Zaid to Anwar: Let’s see who’s more credible


The former ally of Anwar Ibrahim wants a debate to prove once and for all that he is a better man than the PKR de facto leader

Anisah Shukry, FMT

“Let’s debate!” said Zaid Ibrahim, with a scathing glitter in his eyes. It is a challenge often enunciated by his rival Anwar Ibrahim, and now thrown back at the PKR de facto chief.

“I want to debate in Kajang on why he wants to be Menteri Besar. Why is he better than Khalid? How is he a credible leader?” he asked, his every word punctuated with a thump of his fist on his desk.

“His supporters say I’m not credible. His supporters say Zaid is an Umno plant. Zaid is whatever. So I want to debate with him, let’s see who’s more credible,” said Zaid.

Zaid, a former Cabinet minister, former PKR member, and former Anwar ally has no doubts in his mind on who would triumph in both the proposed war of words and the looming battle for the ballots.

It was only two days ago that the veteran politician announced his intention to run in the PKR-engineered polls, a by-election that most political observers and analysts say is Anwar’s to win.

But Zaid is undaunted. In an exclusive interview at his mansion in Tropicana yesterday, the former law minister said he was better than Anwar on many levels, and laid down his cards one by one.

“I’m better (than Anwar) because I’m honest, I’m truthful, I don’t play around in politics like he does. I didn’t have sex problems. I wasn’t sacked.

“I quit (the Cabinet) because of principles, very important principles – using preventive detention laws against people. So I quit. Did Anwar quit? He didn’t. He was sacked. So that’s a difference.

“He’s very divisive, he wants to topple Khalid. I don’t want to topple Khalid,” said Zaid, the former de facto law minister with an air of finality, akin to a declaration of ‘checkmate’.

For that is Zaid’s trump card, one which he intends to play to the hilt – that he is the go-to man for voters happy with the Selangor Menteri Besar’s performance.

He said voters are fed up with PKR for orchestrating a by-election so soon after the general election and are hungry for a third, independent force to balance out a two-party system.

Other than Zaid, the Kajang candidates who announced their intention to contest are a motley crew – a 1980s dangdut singer, a former legal aide, and a former tennis buddy of Anwar’s.