Zaid clarifies statement on Mahathir as opposition leader

zaid-mahathirPETALING JAYA: DAP’s newest high-profile member, Zaid Ibrahim, today said it was never his intention to suggest that Dr Mahathir Mohamad was the opposition’s current de facto leader.

He was clarifying a report published by Malay Mail Online (MMO), where he was quoted as saying the opposition pact had a “silent agreement that Mahathir is the current de facto chief”.

“When people say (the) opposition (is) leaderless, I tried to clarify (the situation). I never intended to suggest Tun M (Mahathir) as supreme leader,” Zaid said in a message posted on Twitter.

When contacted by FMT, the former de facto law minister said the statement he made to the news portal was based on his personal observation.

“I only expressed my personal opinion, not the party’s.

“I, as an ordinary member am certainly not qualified to speak on behalf of the party, let alone the opposition. I am sorry that in trying to show that the opposition has capable leaders,  it has upset its top leaders.”

He said given the fact that the opposition’s choice for the top leadership post, Anwar Ibrahim, was currently behind bars, many have looked to Mahathir for leadership.

“With no disrespect to (the current opposition leader) Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, I just felt that Mahathir has been the one driving a lot of things for the opposition.

“And there is no one else leading the charge now,” Zaid told FMT.

MMO’s report titled “Zaid Ibrahim: Dr M is de facto Opposition Leader”, quoted Zaid as saying that he “thinks” Mahathir is the de facto opposition leader, as the former prime minister was the only leader with an opinion, who was strong and experienced.

“We have a leader. Just that it’s not spoken or proclaimed. But Mahathir is the de facto (leader) and I’m happy with that,” he said, according to MMO.

This prompted a reply from DAP’s Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo, who denied what Zaid had allegedly said about the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) chairman.

“I find it strange that Zaid has chosen to make such an announcement as a DAP member without first consulting the party leadership.

“He should know better. It is the central executive committee which decides on behalf of DAP and there has never been any such decision made,” Gobind said.

He also denied the existence of any “silent agreement” between the opposition pact of Pakatan Harapan and PPBM, on Mahathir’s role.