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Ceramah around Hulu Selangor

Nizar Jamaludin

Anwar Ibrahim

Khalid and zaid Ibrahim

PKR today moved swiftly to clear the air over Datuk Zaid Ibrahim’s allegedly ‘unholy’ past, claiming that the former Umno member is now a “reformed man” and should be forgiven for his mistakes. Zaid has been the target of attacks on his character and his principles as a Muslim ever since his candidacy for the Malay-majority Hulu Selangor seat was announced. In the list of accusations that Zaid is facing, he is branded an alcoholic, an advocate of gambling and a womaniser — all of which are frowned upon in Islam.

Zaid admitted to the media last night that he drank alcohol in the past but quickly added that he has since repented and is now a changed person. His PKR colleagues today scrambled to wipe up the spilt milk of Zaid’s un-Islamic past, using PAS’ support for the former de facto law minister as their passport to call for his acceptance on polling day. “We all have a past, do we not? And you heard him. Zaid already admitted that it had all happened in his past. [He] no longer the same today... correct? “He said that he had changed the moment he entered the PKR,” said PKR elections director Fuziah Salleh.

She added that since his Umno days, Zaid had changed and had even gone to perform the haj in Mecca. “This is a very, very dirty tactic of the Barisan Nasional (BN). On behalf of the BN, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak should be embarassed by this tactic used to character assassinate a candidate,” she said. She challenged the BN to stop bludgeoning Zaid’s character and principles and instead, list down its abilities and promises for the people of Hulu Selangor. “There is no God, whether in Christianity, Hinduisn, Buddhism or Islam, that will punish a person when that person has already changed and reformed. No one has the right to do that, not you or me. So who is the BN to do this?” she added.

Pointing to the members of the media, Fuziah continued to say: “I am sure that none of you would want the details of your past to be revealed... especially if you have already reformed.” She also said that even PAS, with its Islamist stand and beliefs, had forgiven Zaid for his past mistakes. In 2002, Zaid had brought a suit against the Kelantan and Terengganu governments for passing the Hudud law. Although the suit was later dropped, this little piece of information has been used as ammunition against Zaid and the Pakatan Rakyat, with strong allegations claiming that there was a rift between PKR and PAS over the latter party’s choice of candidate.

PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, who yesterday turned up for the nomination process here, had however declared that PAS was solidly backing Zaid’s candidacy and would not hold him to his past. Despite this, it is clear so far from the string of functions within the PR’s campaign for Zaid, that PAS has been slow in kicking off its campaign here in Hulu Selangor. Fuziah, however, denied this, and said that PAS was clearly backing Zaid and that no such rift between the two parties existed. ”During the nomination, Zaid even spoke with PAS adviser Datuk Seri Nik Aziz Nik Mat who is in Mecca now.

Nik Aziz wished him all the best. And PAS’ central leadership made their statement yesterday that they are willing to forgive Zaid and they are prepared to forget his past,” she said. Fuziah pointed out that even PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim used to be in Umno before and had made his mistakes too. “But now that he has come into the PKR, things have changed. He has reformed. Both of them have reformed,” she said.

PKR strategic director Chua Tian Chang also joined in Fuziah’s criticism of BN’s tactics to kill Zaid’s chances in the by-election and pointed out that what is most important now is not what Zaid used to do in the past but what he can do for the people in the future. “Our primary concern here today are the national issues that plague us. It is about how to fight against abuse of power and corruption and an MP’s duty is to speak up for the people in Parliament. “I don’t know how or why an issue, a personal issue like this, can become a strategy for the by-election... it just shows that the BN is bankrupt of ideas,” he said.


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