PETALING JAYA: Umno leader Ahmad Zahid Hamidi acted “without class” when he hit below the belt by questioning Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s lineage, despite all the former prime minister’s contributions to the country.
Former information minister Zainuddin Maidin, in saying this, also pointed out the hypocrisy of Zahid and Umno, which once accepted the “Mahathir anak lelaki (son of) Iskandar Kutty” as their leader.
“This just proves that Umno leaders have lost their sanity, from the pressure that comes from Mahathir’s political comeback,” he told FMT.
“They are panicking to the point that they are no longer able to behave in a civilised manner and are now resorting to personal attacks.
“Even Zahid himself had once accepted Mahathir (as Umno president and the prime minister). And the Malays too had accepted him, so his lineage should not now become an issue.”
Zahid, who is Umno’s acting deputy president, claimed he had been shown a copy of Mahathir’s identity card (IC), which allegedly stated his name as “Mahathir a/l Iskandar Kutty”.
The deputy prime minister had also, in his address at the Kelana Jaya Umno division meeting, said that “the man who struggled for the Malay agenda” was actually “using the Malays”.
Zainuddin said Zahid’s statement had displayed just how low he would go to discredit Mahathir’s political influence. It also reeked of desperation, he added.
“Zahid is trying to show that he is the one more relevant to one day becoming the prime minister, compared with his competitor, Hishammuddin Hussein.
“He has to prove that his loyalty towards the party and towards Najib is far greater than that of Hishammuddin,” said Zainuddin, in reference to Umno president Najib Razak.
In doing so, Zahid has confirmed how Umno is still stuck with racial politics, said Zainuddin.
Former de facto law minister Zaid Ibrahim expressed the same views. He said the attack on Mahathir, who is now the chairman of opposition pact Pakatan Harapan, is “most unfair”.
“And it’s unbecoming from a leader of the country,” he told FMT.
“This non-stop abuse from the prime minister and his deputy shows how desperate Umno has become.
“What is clear is that both of them are totally lacking in stature and class.”
PPBM supreme council member Tariq Ismail, on the other hand, “thanked God” for Zahid’s statement.
This is because Zahid had revealed that Umno leaders, who had been boasting that the party is made up of fighters of the Malays, was actually led by a non-Malay for more than 22 years.
“The Malays are no longer tied to the dogma that they can only be led by another Malay,” he said in a statement issued tonight.
Tariq, who is the grandson of former deputy prime minister Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman, also said that while Zahid had claimed his remarks about Mahathir weren’t meant to be a personal attack, it actually was.
“When the lineage of any race is considered disgraceful, it crosses the line between being personal and professional,” he added.