Former law minister Zaid Ibrahim's return to active politics by joining DAP was a positive development for the Pakatan Harapan coalition, said an academic and PKR leaders.
According to Universiti Sains Malaysia's Prof Ahmad Atory Hussain, Zaid has the potential to fill "vacancies" in DAP that were meant for Malay leaders and help the party shake off its "anti-Malay or anti-Islam" label.
"There is still a vacant vice-chairperson's post. I see that he (Zaid) could fill the position," said Ahmad Atory.
He said if Zaid had a leadership position in the party, he would be able to help "dilute" racial sentiments among the top leadership.
"With Zaid being a Malay, maybe they (non-Malay leaders) would be more conscious (of racial sentiments). So I feel this is a positive influence," he told Malaysiakini.
Zaid, 66, announced his entry into DAP yesterday. He previously served as Kota Baru MP for one term and spent six months as a law minister during the Abdullah Ahmad Badawi administration.
Ahmad Atory believed that Zaid was potentially DAP's candidate for a ministerial position should Harapan come to power following the next general election.
This sentiment was shared by PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution who said that Zaid was once regarded as cabinet minister material for the opposition coalition.
He was referring to Zaid's short stint in PKR between 2010 and 2012. PKR and Zaid parted ways on bad terms.
"My views on this are based on the fact that we need to move forward. Time is running out for the coalition. We need more people to join us.
"I view Zaid's entry into DAP in a positive context," said Saifuddin.
Although Zaid's Malay-Muslim credentials may not appeal to all Malay demographics, Saifuddin believed that the former minister has his appeal to certain electorates.
"You can't take him to Padang Terap, Baling or Pedu (rural areas) but he could still capture a certain segment of voters," he said.
PKR vice-president Tian Chua too was positive about Zaid and DAP's tie-up.
"What is there to comment? It is good for us," he said.
On why there were no PKR leaders during the event yesterday to mark Zaid's entry into DAP, Chua said the event was entirely a DAP affair.
"We are all united against Najib. We (PKR and Zaid) were already on the same stage so many times (before). No point trying to dig (more into this)," he stressed.
Top DAP, Parti Amanah Negara and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia leaders, including Dr Mahathir Mohamad, were at Zaid's home yesterday when he announced his decision to join DAP.- Mkini