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Friday, November 13, 2009

Zaid picks Nik Aziz to chair Pakatan Rakyat Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 13 |  malaysiainsider

— The opposition bloc should name Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat to be chairman of the Pakatan Rakyat Malaysia to foil any further attempts by Umno to have “unity government” talks with PAS, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim said today.

The maverick politician also wondered aloud why none of the three parties making up the Pakatan have mentioned the coalition except to clarify that he is the pro-tem chairman.

Writing in his blog today, Zaid also asked the coalition to review its ambitious plans to capture the Borneo states of Sabah and Sarawak and instead asked them to support local parties there.

He also confirmed The Malaysian Insider's report that the Pakatan Rakyat Malaysia submitted its registration on Nov 3.

"To make these efforts a success, we need 'sacrifices' from Anwar Ibrahim. Abdul Hadi Awang can also make a big contribution by asking Tok Guru Nik Aziz to be the leader or chairman of Pakatan Rakyat, just like Mahatma Gandhi was spiritual leader to the Congress Party," said Zaid, referring to the leaders of PKR and PAS who are seen as less popular than respected PAS spiritual leader.

He also said veteran DAP leader Lim Kit Siang could prove his "statesmanship" by agreeing to his suggestion and to be adviser for democratic and human rights affairs.

"In one stroke, this will silence any agenda for a 'unity government' with Umno," Zaid stressed.

The head of the Pakatan Common Policy Platform secretariat also asked for a review of the bloc's push to win Sabah and Sarawak.

"Political reality shows it is a heavy effort and we have seen negative reaction with the tussle for seats like in the 2008 general election.

"Political wisdom also shows its better for Pakatan to play its role by supporting parties that are in tune with it in Sabah and Sarawak," he said, adding that step would show respect to the locals and make them equal partners in the coalition.

"Isn't this more realistic?" he asked.

"Only a grand coalition like this can overcome the Barisan Nasional giant," Zaid said.

On the flip side, he said capturing Putrajaya would remain a daydream if the leaders of the three parties felt they were strong enough and wanted to continue using old ways such as electoral pacts to form the federal government.

Saying he hoped not to offend anyone, Zaid noted the important issue was to achieve change and it will not happen if the allies only prioritised their parties and positions.

"They are not change agents. This group only wants power for themselves.

"The people will see that this group is no different from Umno and Barisan Nasional leaders," said Zaid, who is noted for being blunt and outspoken.

He said they must make the same sacrifices that they demand from the people for reforms to happen.
"If the leaders are still stubborn, the people will punish us in the next general election," Zaid wrote.

He also noted it was the first time three major opposition parties in Malaysia united in a legal entity with a common logo and single political aim.

But Zaid lamented the joy for the historic moment has not been shared by leaders from PKR, DAP and PAS.

"There hasn't been an encouraging statement from the top leadership of the three parties. It is as if they don't want it made public," he said, noting the only statement made was to deny that he was the chairman of the coalition.

Zaid sarcastically thanked them for the clarification, saying Malaysians know that registering a group or party would require the name of sponsors or a pro-tem committee.

"Of course, it doesn't make sense for me to be leader to top leaders like Anwar Ibrahim, Abdul Hadi Awang and Lim Kit Siang.

"What the people want to hear but has yet to be told is the aim and hope of forming Pakatan Rakyat Malaysia as an alternative to Barisan Nasional," he said.

Zaid said explaining the substance was more important than the form of the organisation, adding that people want to know the aim, vision and joint strategies of Pakatan.

He noted the plans remained vague but Pakatan should work with like-minded individuals such as Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah as another "striker" to strengthen the pact.

"Ku Li might be a veteran but he has integrity and contemporary political views," he said, adding that the Gua Musang MP need not jump from Umno to still help Pakatan.

Zaid said the Kelantan prince could still be invited to speak at political ceramahs as his aims were similar — to eliminate corruption and move the country forward.

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