State leaders say they were in the dark over their dismissal, and back up allegations of Zaid's arrogance and disrespect for protocol.
Three months ago treasurer, Rashid Azad Khan, was sacked via text message. Last Wednesday central secretary, Abdul Latif Thambi, and central committee member, Muhammad Firdaus Christopher, were given the boot.
In an immediate response Firdaus unleashed a tirade against Zaid for bypassing party constitution, registering state branches through dubious means and his overall high-handedness in running the party.
Latif, meanwhile, cried foul for his sacking over a website password and blasted Zaid for leading Kita astray from its original mission. And now voices from within the party’s state leadership have expressed similar dissatisfactions.
Penang state chief, Tan Tee Beng, acknowleged that the allegations of a fund shortage, sacking over minor issues and a lack of party protocol were all true. According to him, the talk has long been circulating within the party and was a ticking timebomb.
“Zaid had a right to sack the three for airing dirty linen in public but he should have used a different approach,” he said. “He could have always held private talks with them to try to resolve the issue.
“Unhappiness and struggle will plague every political party but when a new party is gearing up for a general election such incidences are never good.”
The Nibong Tebal MP said that Zaid probably regarded Kita as his personal party when it was first launched but that perception had to change as must Zaid’s tendency to make decisions alone.
“Zaid has to decide whether he wants to be a team player,” Tan said. “If you’re like (Gerakan president) Koh Tsu Koon who listens to everyone then you can’t make a decision. But if you’re like Zaid then you’re at the other extreme.”
While Tan may have been mildly reproachful of Zaid’s conduct, Malacca state chief, Colonel Hashim Putih, blasted him outright.
He said that the sacking of the three was in poor taste as no reasons were given for their dismissal either to the party leadership or even to the trio themselves.
“They should have been given a chance to defend themselves,” he said. “The decision is unfair to them and to party members who are in the dark over the sacking. But this is true of his dictatorship style and non-compliance with the party constitution.”
Hashim also admitted that “shortcuts” were taken to register the Malacca branch with the Registrar of Societies.
Meanwhile, his secretary-general, Yahya Mohd Idris, bemoaned Zaid’s “hasty and drastic” decisions over “trivial issues” and agreed that Zaid’s arrogance had cast a shadow over a party that was still on the brink of development.
“He released the news to the media before even informing the party leadership which he shouldn’t have done,” added Yahya, which confirmed Firdaus’ earlier claim that he had found out about his sacking through media reports.
This sentiment was loudly echoed by Negeri Sembilan state chief, R Sri Sanjeevan, who pointed out that they should have been shown due respect as state chiefs by being informed ahead of the media.
He said he shocked at the reasons for the dismissal, especially over the website password, and called it “extremely childish”.
Sanjeevan, however, declined to comment on the other allegations saying that it wouldn’t be fair as he had neither experienced nor heard it first hand.
“But Kita is still an infant and needs a proper upbringing,” he said. “If there is already in-fighting now, people will lose faith in us. I call on all parties to keep and work out their disputes internally from hereon.”