Sinatra_Z - Zaid Pun Melayu

Latest Article in The Malaysian Insider

Zaid Pun Melayu

NOV 12 — By now it should be quite clear that I am not a fan of Parti Keadilan Rakyat. I do not look highly upon their de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as the future prime minister of Malaysia. Thus it should come as a surprise that I, Encik Pemuda Umno, am moved to write a piece that is somewhat favouring Anwar’s blue-eyed boy Azmin Ali.

Here’s the thing, as much as I am amused by the developments in PKR’s party elections, and am having a field day sniping about the irregularities and circus of this so-called “most democratic” party elections, I have to be honest. Even I can’t stand the drama that Datuk Zaid Ibrahim is playing.

After reading some of the commentaries and opinions of self-proclaimed intellectuals and political scientists about how PKR is missing out on a bright new way of politics and how it has reverted back to Umno politics by backing Azmin, I am confused. How is choosing Azmin over Zaid similar to going back to the Umno days? Really? Being the Umno supporter that I am, I have to disagree. In fact, if you ask me, if you were to compare these two individuals side by side based on their track records, Zaid is the archetypical Umno politician.

The Zaid that you see today is the former law minister who resigned from his Cabinet post due to his stand over the Internal Security Act. Perceived as the liberal and democratic politician who is against oppression and dictatorship, he couldn’t tolerate the Umno regime, so he had to leave, or be fired. If indeed he was vehemently against the ISA and thought that the judiciary was truly flawed, where was Zaid back in 1998? Back when Anwar was incarcerated, ISA was at its peak, and the judiciary was supposedly conspiring with the then-Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (I don’t believe there was such a conspiracy).

According to Wikipedia, he joined Umno in the year 2000 and in 2001 he became the division chief of Kota Baru. Now I highly doubt the fact that he joined Umno that late and it is interesting to note that only a year after joining Umno he became a division leader. It is as if the editors of that page tried to erase his involvement in Umno pre-1998.

“In 2001, I won the contest for the post of Umno division chief for Kota Baru. Took me three attempts and 10 years to do that but I did it.”

That was taken from Zaid’s blog during the eve of the Hulu Selangor by-election. For your information, the issue was that Zaid was once convicted of money politics in Umno and was suspended from his post as division leader. He had joined Umno long before 2000 and during the darkest days of democracy Zaid Ibrahim was busy contesting for the Umno divisional leader post.

For an anti-ISA liberal democrat he sure seems comfortable serving under the stewardship of Dr Mahathir yet out of the blue moon seemed to think that the Abdullah Ahmad Badawi regime was way more dictatorial. So much so he just had to resign.

I am quite annoyed when people comment that a rejection of Zaid and the choosing of Azmin harks back to the days of Umno. First and foremost, they were both from Umno and if anything, Zaid is a far more established Umno man than Azmin or Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim combined. A graduate from ITM (a truly Malay institution), Zaid later founded ZICO (Zaid Ibrahim and Co), the biggest Bumiputera law firm in the country.

It hugely benefitted from the 30 per cent Bumiputera policy in terms of corporate conveyancing work and seeing that he was from Umno, it surely helped a bit. Of course, he would vehemently deny it. The ironic thing is, this vocal critic of the NEP is the shining star and a true product of the NEP. Perhaps he should consider a sequel to “Saya pun Melayu” titled “Saya pun DEB.”

As much as I hate to admit it, I personally think that Zaid actually belongs in Umno. I’m not saying I like him or anything but his character, that archetypical NEP success story, that rich bangsawan Malay who owns horses and races them, that sounds very old-school Umno if you ask me. Plus PKR is a party for activists, socialists and Anwar fanboys and Zaid is none of those.

It comes as no surprise that he is frustrated with PKR. If anything, Zaid doesn’t even belong in Pakatan Rakyat. When he was the divisional leader of Kota Baru he was the arch nemesis of the Tok Guru (Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat) and caused quite a stir when he sued the Kelantan government for trying to implement hudud law.

But come on, a man who recently joined the party with barely any track record with the movement suddenly guns for the second in command and expects to win it? Even I think it’s too much. I don’t know where Zaid will go next — some say that Zaid actually belongs in the DAP but I think deep in his heart he is too Malay for the DAP.

Perhaps he will start a new party with Haris Ibrahim and Raja Petra Kamarudin. But as much as I like to criticise him, I have to say that he sure has the guts to honestly tell those PKR fanboys the hard cold truth and that PKR needs to move on from Anwar and expose the long hidden hypocrisy that has long infested the party.

Zaid was right though when he said PKR isn’t ready for Putrajaya. He wasn’t being a pessimist, he was merely being a realist.

I wish Zaid well in whatever adventures that he decides to pursue next, be it the DAP, a new party or perhaps even PKR should he choose to stay. I wouldn’t even mind if he rejoined Umno, it should be interesting to watch that. But personally, I think that Zaid should join an NGO instead, something non-political, something like Perkasa.

You know, maybe he could shift Perkasa from that ultra right-wing movement to a moderate Malay NGO that fights for the rights of the Malays and acts as a watchdog for both BN and Pakatan Rakyat. Why not Perkasa... after all, “Zaid pun Melayu.”

PS. Zaid Ibrahim and Ibrahim Ali have a lot in common. They’re both from Kelantan, former Umno members, left during Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s presidency and both highly favour Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.