PETALING JAYA: Ten years ago, Zaid Ibrahim shocked Malaysians when he resigned from his Cabinet post in protest against the then government’s use of the Internal Security Act to silence dissent.
Zaid, who gave up his successful legal firm to join the government then, was perhaps the only Malaysian minister to resign on principle.
The straight-talking politician was vocal against the Barisan Nasional (BN) government but also went from one party to another, hoping to find one suited to his liberal stand on many issues.
He first joined PKR, then later revived a small party. He finally joined DAP last year.
On Saturday, he said he had had enough, after receiving flak for a blog post seen as critical of the present government.
“Not only will I stop writing altogether, I will no longer be a member of any political party. I have wasted enough years in politics, thinking I could make some difference to the country, but it’s not to be.
“Maybe Malaysian politics does not need someone like me and I have realised this a little too late,” Zaid wrote on FMT.
According to political analyst Kamarul Zaman Yusoff, Zaid had not been given due recognition despite his sacrifices and contributions to Pakatan Harapan (PH).
The Universiti Utara Malaysia academic said whether people liked it or not, Zaid had played a big role in PH despite not contesting in the May 9 polls.
Zaid was among individuals instrumental in the coming together of opposition forces in the run-up to the general election which toppled BN.
Kamarul said Zaid was there when Dr Mahathir Mohamad surprised Malaysians by joining the Bersih rally in August 2015.
“When Zaid called for Najib Razak to quit in his 2015 blog posting titled ‘Rally behind Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’, he was charged with making an offensive statement.
“The People’s Congress in Shah Alam, on March 27, 2016 which united Mahathir with PH leaders, was organised by Zaid,” Kamarul said, adding that the press conference for the congress was also held at Zaid’s house.
Kamarul, known for his past criticism of PH, said an event at Zaid’s home in early 2017 to announce his DAP membership was also attended by Mahathir and DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang.
He said Zaid was one of the few who defended Mahathir when the latter was condemned by the Selangor palace over remarks seen as insulting to the Bugis community.
Kamarul said Zaid should have at least been accorded some recognition, adding that he was surprised Zaid was not given any seat to contest, or a position in the new administration.
He said it was possible that the reactions from PH leaders to Zaid’s blog post questioning the present government’s lack of policies to help poor Malays, had been too much for Zaid to digest.
Zaid said earlier that DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng was among the leaders who had contacted him, asking him to retract a statement implying that billionaire tycoons were surrounding PH top leaders.
Kamarul added that he hoped Zaid would remain active in other ways.