JOHOR BAHRU: Former Umno leader Zaid Ibrahim has told Malays to kick out his former party at the next general election if they want to restore Malay pride.
Zaid, who was speaking at a forum called “Malay clowns or Malay visionary”, said a “Malay visionary” would not pick fights and play the blame game.
“Like appearing on television clad only in towels,” he said in reference to Red Shirts leader and Umno grassroots leader Jamal Yunos, who protested recent water disruptions in Selangor by standing in front of the state secretariat building, wearing only towels.
Jamal, a controversial figure who made headlines throughout last year and even in 2015 through his Red Shirts campaign against Bersih, has claimed he aims to defend Malays in the country.
But Zaid said the formula to rebuilding Malay pride was to kick out Umno.
“We have to understand that Malay pride can only be rebuilt by Malays. We have to break 50 years of Umno’s political hegemony,” he said. He added that Umno, the lynchpin of ruling coalition Barisan Nasional, wanted to control and dictate everything.
Zaid said the problems and weaknesses of the Malays had been highlighted many times by various figures and now was the time to act.
“A lot has been written. Abdullah Munshi said Malays are cowards and lazy,” he said, referring to an influential 19th-century writer. “This is something former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad touched on in his book, The Malay Dilemma.
“The time for talk is over. Let us redeem the Malays by voting in the opposition.”
Also at the forum was Amanah deputy president Salahuddin Ayub and academician Prof Tajudin Mohd Rasdi. A new edition of Zaid’s book titled “Saya pun Melayu” (I too am Malay) was launched yesterday.