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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Blogger says police toughness linked to Zahid’s ambition

Is the Home Minister trying to show that he owes no loyalty to Anwar?
Shahbudin Husin, Zahid Hamidi, Anwar Ibrahim
PETALING JAYA: Could the recent upsurge in police toughness against demonstrators be associated with Home Minister Zahid Hamidi’s need to prove to Umno that he no longer has any trace of loyalty to jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim?
Political analyst Shahbudin Husin ponders upon this question in his latest blog entry. He notes that this is one of the points being brought up in private discussions about the spate of arrests last weekend and the abnormally harsh treatment of the arrested political leaders.
For those who are too young to recall, Zahid was closely associated with Anwar’s camp in Umno when the latter was deputy prime minister. In fact, some say it was Zahid’s speech at the Umno general assembly of 1998 that broke the camel’s back in the uneasy relationship between Anwar and the then prime minister and Umno president, Mahathir Mohamad.
Zahid was Umno Youth leader at the time and his speech was a thinly veiled attack on the cronyism and nepotism that Mahathir allegedly fostered. Anwar was sacked from Umno shortly after the assembly.
According to Shahbudin, who is an Umno member, some sections of the party’s membership suspect that Zahid still holds some loyalty towards Anwar.
“Many believe that it is to remove this suspicion” that he could have directed the police to be extra tough on the pro-Anwar demonstrators, he says.
“It is alleged that he does this to ensure his survival and to brighten his political future.”
Shahbudin reports that according to a former MP who recently visited Anwar in prison, the opposition leader complained about the rough treatment he was getting and attributed it to Zahid’s extra firmness.
“Anwar said that he was undergoing more suffering now than during his previous imprisonment when, in the initial period, his arch enemy Mahathir was the Home Minister.”

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