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Monday, November 15, 2010


KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 15 — Datuk Zaid Ibrahim has announced he is quitting PKR today, a widely-anticipated move a week after dropping out of the party’s deputy presidential race.

The maverick politician said he resigned in an interview with The Star daily that appeared in today’s edition with the banner headlines “Zaid: I quit”. This was his third interview in as many newspapers owned by Barisan Nasional (BN) parties.

“I knew my days in the party were numbered because the leaders were relentlessly making personal attacks against me.

“I am quitting because I want to dissociate myself from liars and cheats. I do not want to be part of a group that propagates lies and does not have any qualms about cheating for as long as the end justifies the means,’’ Zaid told The Star, adding he would take a short break “to get away from all the attention”.

He has become increasingly critical of the party leadership in recent weeks, going as far as to ask de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and his political rival Azmin Ali to quit their posts for the sake of the party.

Zaid joined the party 18 months ago after being sacked from Umno, where he was also critical of Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

“I am not sick of the party, I am sick of the sick leaders in the party,’’ he said in the interview.

Zaid said he had been attacked for merely asking for a clean, free and fair party election.

He said that right from the start of polling when he was leading the pack in the race for the No. 2 post, he had been calling on party leaders to seriously look into irregularities in the balloting process.

“How can they blatantly lie that I only made noise after my opponent (Azmin) took the lead on the third day of polling?” he asked.

“They call me a troublemaker, that I am a Trojan horse out to destroy the party. They also accused me of being an Umno agent trying to destroy the party from within.

“I cannot accept all these lies.

“They (PKR leaders) do not take well to criticism. They ‘shoot’ the messenger of truth rather than address the complaints,” he added.

In his note quitting the party polls last week, Zaid thanked all the members who have supported him and “placed their faith in the cause of reform”.

“It is of utmost disappointment that I am unable to continue in this flawed election process. I remain committed to the Opposition’s cause and will continue to speak about the issues of the common people.

“Together, we will continue our unabated struggle towards a better government for the people,” he said.

According to political observers, Zaid is likely to go on and form his own party as Umno has indicated it will not take back the lawyer-turned-politician.

The Kelantanese was in Umno for 23 years and a former Kota Baru MP. He was made a senator and became the law minister in the Abdullah administration after Election 2008.

While hailed a hero for joining PKR in June 2009, he was criticised by BN-owned newspapers and had to come out with a book “Saya Pun Melayu” (I am Malay, too) to defend himself.

Ironically, Zaid took his strident views against his PKR colleagues in the very newspapers that used to be critical of him.

Zaid built a one-man law practice into the country’s largest law partnership that still bears his name.

He was also co-ordinator of the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) secretariat that sought to formalise the pact that won four more states and 82 federal seats in Election 2008.

Zaid had once proposed PAS spiritual leader and Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat as a better PR chief than Anwar. He said last weekend that other PAS leaders were more capable than Anwar, whom he supported for the PKR presidency, saying they would make a good team.

Anwar declined.

Zaid’s campaign for the PKR No. 2 race was marked with claims that he would quit if either Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim or Anwar’s daughter, Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah, would enter the contest. Both later declined although Khalid showed some interest.

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