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Zaid not joining any political party for now (Updated)

Updated on 4 Dec 2008 at 1.40pm

PETALING JAYA, 4 Dec 2008: Former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, who was sacked from Umno on 2 Dec, says he is not joining any political party “in the near future” but will concentrate on building his foundation for youths, myFuture Foundation.

At a press conference this morning, he said he was not surprised by his sacking and that Umno has no regard for natural justice by not giving him a fair hearing.

Zaid was issued a show cause letter by Umno for writing an open letter to the prime minister and for meeting with opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) to repeal the Internal Security Act (ISA).

He recently came under fire for attending the DAP victory dinner on 28 Nov, and the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) congress the next day.

Earlier, his remarks on ketuanan Melayu also raised the ire of several Umno leaders, who demanded that he apologise. Zaid, however, refused.

“I did not do all that to invite expulsion. I think they expelled me because of my ideas. They resented my more accommodating approach,” Zaid told reporters today.

He questioned the manner in which he was sacked from Umno. He said he only knew of his sacking from text messages sent to him at midnight after the Umno supreme council meeting on 2 Dec.

“They should have at least called me, at least asked me, ‘What are you trying to do?'” he said.

“It shows a lack of maturity, lack of respect for rules, lack of respect for small people. If you lack respect for small people, you lose power, because it’s the small people who vote.”

Zaid also said he was not given a fair hearing before the Umno supreme council decided to sack him.

Zaid Ibrahim (file pic)

“I have not been given the opportunity to be heard and neither am I aware of any specific violation I had committed.

“I did not attend the DAP’s dinner or PKR’s congress to provoke anyone. I was there to listen on the invitation of friends,” he said.

“But that’s Umno for you. They see provocation and enemies everywhere,” he said.

“I just feel that sacking me for something like this doesn’t look good for the party. There are people (Umno members) who’ve done worse things,” he added.

 “I could take them (Umno) to court but it would be a hollow victory because when people don’t want you anymore, what’s the point?”

Zaid, who has been in Umno for 23 years, said his one regret is that Umno has misunderstood his stand on helping the Malays.

“I believe that Umno and the government must provide guidance and support to the bumiputera on the basis of needs and merit. It is important that the Malays have the right values to be successful.

“This unfortunately has been construed as betraying the race and abandoning the cause of the party’s struggle,” he said.

The former Kota Baru MP was appointed a senator by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on 18 March and made Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, in charge of legal affairs and the judiciary.

During his tenure, he tried to spearhead judicial reform, but found little support among his colleagues in the cabinet.

He resigned as minister on 15 Sept over the use of the ISA to detain blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin, Seputeh MP Teresa Kok and Sin Chew Daily reporter Tan Hoon Cheng on 12 Sept. Tan, Kok and Raja Petra have since been released.

Since Zaid was sacked, Pakatan Rakyat parties have said they would welcome him to join them.

On 3 Dec, Opposition Leader and PKR advisor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said Pakatan Rakyat was comfortable with Zaid’s principles. He described Zaid as someone who is stern in opposing laws that are contrary to human rights, including the ISA.

“We welcome him. It’s his choice to discuss with PKR, DAP and PAS leaders. We are comfortable because we have seen him steadfast in defending the principles of human rights and being very committed in his position and stand against the ISA,” Anwar said. TNG

See also: Zaid Ibrahim sacked from Umno

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