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Zaid – right candidate, wrong constituency? April 24, 2010

Posted by malaysianstory in Anwar Ibrahim, Hulu Selangor By Election, Pakatan Rakyat, Transformation in PKR.
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Zaid Ibrahim, the PKR candidate for Hulu Selangor, is known to be liberal, vocal and lacks the patience to attend to trivialities. He epitomises the phrase “what you see is what you get”.

This no-nonsense lawyer has made his mark from shooting from the hip, at everything in sight. In Umno, where he had stayed for 22 years, his achievements included suing the Kelantan and Terengganu state governments in 2002 to stop Hudud from being enforced in both states.

Soon after, the PAS leadership decreed that it was halal to vilify Zaid, claiming that Zaid is a munafik (hypocrite) and if he did not repent, he would cease to be a Muslim.

Moving on, Zaid finds himself in PKR after being dropped as a Minister by the BN Government and is likely going to be the man to take over from Anwar Ibrahim, the chief of PKR.

In fact, Anwar needs Zaid to be promoted within PKR as fast as possible so that Zaid’s authority will not be challenged by dissatisfied PKR aspirants.

That’s why Anwar handpicked Zaid to be the candidate for Hulu Selangor despite deafening protests by Selangor PKR leaders that a local leader such as Dr Halili Rahmat, who left the party on Tuesday, would have stood a better chance of winning.

PAS too is against Zaid’s candidacy as PAS supporters are not likely to vote for someone who had thwarted their intended Talibanisation of Kelantan and Terengganu.

PKR vice-president Azmin Ali is never in favour of Zaid. Azmin is eager to take over from Anwar and is not going to allow Zaid, who has only been in PKR for 2 years, to outrank him.

But Anwar stood his ground and would have none other than Zaid. That is how Zaid was parachuted in Hulu Selangor. He is looking out of sorts and somewhat bewildered because his lifestyle and that of the people he’s shaking hands with now are poles apart.

This wealthy lawyer, who has admitted to be a drinker and keeps a stable of horses, is not synching with the kampung psyche.

If Zaid were to be placed in the Batu constituency – which may be vacant should Tian Chua be proven guilty and be jailed or fined considerably by the court for causing harm to a policeman last year – he might win hands down.

Among affluent societies and in city areas, Zaid may have the edge. But in Hulu Selangor, it would be difficult for rural voters to support him due to his frowned-upon lifestyle.

His awkwardness and ignorance in Hulu Selangor was glaring when during his walkabout in Kuala Kubu Baru yesterday, he said,“I ask the Indian community. Do you want to believe them or me? I am sure they will believe me because long-standing problems concerning the Indians here have not been resolved after 18 years. Also, people here basically want to see development, and more job opportunities. Land issues are another concern raised.”

Unknowingly, Zaid had just confirmed that PKR – despite ruling Selangor after the last general elections with promises of instant changes and developments – had not done anything for the people since they won over the state in March 2008.

And if he wins, will Zaid be able to serve the Hulu Selangor folks effectively when he has to battle the likes of Azmin and PAS in his own backyard? We don’t think so.

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