Zaid Ibrahim, the former de factor Law Minister lamented that UMNO practiced double standards and he stressed that the will not join any opposition party soon but does not rule out doing so later.
Zaid was sacked on Tuesday by UMNO supreme council for attending events organised by several opposition parties, including PKR’s national congress at Stadium Malawati last week. Zaid said that he did not attend the DAP dinner nor PKR congress to provoke anyone but was there on the invitation of friends only to listen.
Another sore point to Zaid was that he has not been given the opportunity to be heard, in addition to the absence of any specific violation that he had committed.
I’m a victim of double standards in Umno, says Zaid
PETALING JAYA: Former de facto Law Minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim will not join any opposition party soon but does not rule out doing so later.
Zaid, who was sacked by Umno two days ago, said that for the time being he would concentrate on youth work through his recently set up myFuture Foundation.
Asked if he would consider rejoining Umno should there be a change of heart among the party’s leadership, his reply was a terse “No”.
He also said that he would not appeal against the decision or go to court to be heard as that would be a hollow victory if he won.
“It is obvious that I was sacked not because I had attended functions organised by the opposition parties, but more so because many leaders in Umno are not comfortable with my views and stand on many issues,” he told a press conference yesterday.
Zaid said he had expected to be disciplined by the party following harsh statements about him by several Umno leaders, but was surprised to be sacked instead.
“I am a victim of double standard in Umno. I have not been given the opportunity to be heard and neither am I aware of any specific violation that I had committed,” he said.
“I did not attend the DAP dinner nor PKR congress to provoke anyone. I was there on the invitation of friends only to listen.”
Abdullah, in announcing Zaid’s sacking, had stated that drastic action had to be taken against him because his transgressions were too serious and that the party must not be seen as practising double standards.
Zaid said he realised that he was just a “small guy in the party” – a term Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohd Nazri Aziz used – but asserted that even a small man had rights.
He said his only regret after spending 23 years in Umno was that all his good intentions had been misunderstood by his colleagues, especially on the issue of reform so that Umno would once again be a more inclusive and progressive party and in its approach in helping the Malays.
Asked if he felt betrayed by Abdullah who had handpicked him to be a Cabinet member after the March election, Zaid said he did not.
“Pak Lah is a nice man,” he said. “On his own I don’t think he would have sacked me. I think there are leaders in Umno who thought that I was about to join Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (PKR de facto leader) or the DAP or PAS.”
Zaid cannot appeal, says PM
KUALA LUMPUR: Former de facto Law Minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim cannot appeal against Umno’s decision to sack him, said party president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
“It is a decision that had been made. It is a normal decision – a decision which should be taken,” he said.
Zaid was sacked on Tuesday for attending events organised by several opposition parties, including PKR’s national congress at Stadium Malawati last week.
Asked if Zaid’s presence at Pakatan Rakyat functions showed that he had lost interest in Umno, Abdullah said “it looks like it”.
Asked if Zaid would be allowed to attend Umno functions, he said he could do so if he was invited.
“If Umno invites him, then yes. How can he come if he is not invited?” he said.
Umno information chief Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib said Zaid had “courted” the sacking for attending the events and not because of his strong criticisms against some government policies.
He said Zaid should know the consequences of his actions and attending Opposition gatherings was surely against party principles.
“It was a unanimous decision by the supreme council. Everyone who attended the meeting agreed that Zaid should be sacked,” he said after witnessing the signing of MoU between Kemas and Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris.
Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Khaled Nordin said Zaid was implying that he is “with them”.
“If he is with the Opposition, then he should not be with us. Umno’s decision to sack Zaid serves as a reminder to other members of the importance of adhering to party ethics,” he said.
Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said Zaid should prove that Umno was practising double standards.
However, his right to be heard should be considered and the party could give the explanation for the action taken, Dr Rais said at Parliament lobby.
Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad said Zaid’s statement that Umno was “inward-looking” was based on his own experience as the former Kota Baru Umno division chief.
He said Zaid’s attendance at Pakatan Rakyat functions was “regrettable, but I supported the move to sack him”.
“But now it’s very clear that if he receives any applause, it would be because he’s Zaid Ibrahim, the man, and not because he’s an Umno member,” he said.
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