MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Saturday, July 30, 2022

Perhaps Zaid knows some things we don’t


From Terence Netto

No career in Malaysian politics has been stranger than Zaid Ibrahim’s.

Politically, the man has been around the block. Keeping track of the changes to his stances and party affiliations over the years has been a dizzying and unedifying business.

Ads by 

Zaid has been an Umno MP, a Cabinet minister, a PKR candidate for parliament, a sometime ally of Dr Mahathir Mohamad in his campaign to unseat Najib Razak, and a DAP member.

About the only party he has not joined is PAS; a liberal Malay/Muslim like Zaid would find PAS too medieval for his tastes.

Ah, yes, Zaid has also stayed clear of Parti Sosialis Malaysia, but he has socialist proclivities.

A foundation Zaid set up in his hometown of Kota Bahru in his wealthier days as a lawyer has provided aid to people suffering from a host of afflictions. This part of him Zaid does not wear on his sleeve.

Because Zaid’s politics defy easy categorisation, and because the shifts in his stances have been startling, people have wondered about his convictions.

But, somehow, he has not been tagged with the pejoratives “maverick” and “opportunist,” which is a surprise given his game of political hopscotch that has marked his career over the years.

Sure, the philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson has cautioned us that “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds”.

But Zaid’s allegiances have been so consistently inconsistent, it’s not easy to believe he has changed his stances because of new awareness of hitherto hidden facts.

True, in matters of grave public import, Zaid has not been afraid to be ahead of the zeitgeist.

In March 2009, he urged the Yang di-Pertuan Agong not to appoint Najib as prime minister because of the suspicion that swirled around him in connection with the murder of the Mongolian Altantuya Shaarribuu.

Though Mahathir never liked Zaid, the latter was swift to enlist with the Mahathir bandwagon launched in 2015 to unseat Najib as prime minister because of Najib’s alleged involvement in the 1MDB scandal.

There, Zaid was being true to his forerunning self, consistent in wanting to be in the front of the pack and not just content in bringing up the rear.

With all this as prelude, imagine what the public reaction was when it was announced last week that Zaid’s legal firm will lead the defence for Najib in the final round of the former PM’s appeal against his guilty verdict in the RM42 million SRC scandal.

The least kind thing that was being said about Zaid’s latest disposition was that he was being his usual inconsistent self; the most charitable was that Zaid knows something the rest of us don’t.

Precisely because most politicians in Malaysia walk around with labels around their necks, a politico of no category and inconsistent affiliation like Zaid is intriguing.

His free-floating self can paddle around the dark corners of Malaysian politics where reality slides around idealism and government and politicians sustain the pretence that all’s well that seems well.

Perhaps Zaid has small taste for charades. - FMT

Terence Netto is a senior journalist and an FMT reader.

The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of MMKtT.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.