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Monday, June 15, 2009

Zaid on a mission to make PR a strong alternative to BN

KUALA LUMPUR, June 15 — By Lee Wei Lian | Malaysianinsider

Maverick politician Datuk Zaid Ibrahim is determined to play a meaningful role in PKR and help make Pakatan Rakyat (PR) a strong alternative to Barisan Nasional (BN).

Zaid, who officially joined PKR on Saturday, said that he envisions a more democratic Malaysia where the people — and not the elites — would be in the driver's seat.

"I want people to have a choice," he told The Malaysian Insider today.

Zaid's membership is widely seen as a boost to PKR as some even perceive him to be prime minister material.

The former Kota Baru MP, however, denies having any ambitions to be prime minister. "I just want to do my bit," he says.

What he wants to do is help PR become more cohesive and hopes that the opposition coalition's three component parties, PKR, PAS and DAP will agree to the creation of a formal coalition secretariat as well as agree to share resources.

"The secretariat will try and find common positions on delicate issues and strengthen capacity building," Zaid said.

He said that he wants to play a role in the secretariat and his top priority would be to put in place a structure where the parties would have to meet regularly.

"I want to introduce a system so the parties can meet on a more formal basis and find common ground," he said.

Asked if he has any idea yet on how to handle "delicate issues" that may cause friction between the PR partners, Zaid replied that the coalition is still new and formed from diverse historical backgrounds.

"What is clear is that they have done well to stay together," said Zaid.

He shares that some questioned his decision to join PKR, a party which they perceive as weak, but he says that he sees in PR a huge opportunity.

"We cannot allow this country to go on like it has. Those in Umno keep harping on the past and justify their actions based on what happened many decades ago. But if you keep talking about the past when can we move forward?" he said.

"I hope more will join PR. Malaysians must believe they have a role to play. That is why I joined PKR."

Zaid had also toyed with the idea of joining PAS or DAP but in the end decided that as PKR was younger, he felt he could contribute more.

"The other parties are more mature. PKR is easier to change and the potential is a lot more," he said.

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