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“Just a suggestion,” says Zaid

PETALING JAYA, 23 March 2009: Datuk Zaid Ibrahim has described his recent call that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong not appoint Datuk Seri Najib Razak as prime minister as merely a suggestion.

“I said that the Agong should consider it. It is just an idea,” the former de facto law minister said today when asked about his intentions in raising the issue.

Zaid said that Malaysians needed a leader who would be more willing to bring people together, adding that this was crucial “now more than ever” because of current political developments.

“It is nothing personal. Najib may be the person [who can be that leader]. I’m not a soothsayer. He could prove me wrong,” Zaid said today after his second book Saya Pun Melayu was launched by Kelantan Menteri Besar and PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat.

Zaid (File pic)

Asked about the fact that the monarch would be constitutionally hard-pressed not to accept Najib as prime minister because Najib would command a clear majority, Zaid said: “Nothing is easy.”

Zaid, who was sacked from Umno in early December 2008, made his suggestion at a speech he delivered in Kuala Lumpur on 18 March 2009. The following day, Umno deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin called Zaid’s statement “irresponsible and malicious”. Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said it was “illogical”.

Zaid said he did not feel hurt by such criticisms but expressed sadness that national leaders were not tolerant of the rakyat’s views.

“I am just a member of the rakyat. If you take on such a combative and dismissive manner, it reflects on your leadership style,” he said, adding that leaders should show maturity and balance, and should lead by example.

Zaid added that Malaysians had progressed politically as they were not burning flags and effigies of rival political parties as in the 1960s. “It is the leadership who is still stuck,” he said.

However, he refused to comment more on Umno to avoid further criticism.

Apart from Saya Pun Melayu, a biography of Nik Aziz, Kemilau Nik Aziz by Annual Bakri Haron and A Shukor Harun, was also launched today.

PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was also present at the launch.

Zaid said he was still involved in political issues but refused to say whether he would be joining an opposition political party.

“I will join a party where I’ll be most effective,” he said, adding that he would make his decision soon.

“MIC who is unhappy”

Anwar, who had just returned from Batang Ai in Sarawak, said that the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) was “realistic at facing the odds” in the three upcoming by-elections of Batang Ai, Bukit Gantang in Perak and Bukit Selambau in Kedah.

Anwar denied that Indian Malaysian constituents were unhappy with the appointment of S Manikumar as the PKR candidate for the Bukit Selambau by-election.

“It is the MIC Indians who are not satisfied,” the Opposition Leader said, adding that non-Barisan Nasional-aligned constituents were generally satisfied.

“I am going to meet the people [in Bukit Selambau] again tonight,” he added.

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