By Chua Sue-Ann
KUALA KUBU BHARU: PKR’s Datuk Zaid Ibrahim on Tuesday, April 20 said the two independent candidates’ withdrawal from the Hulu Selangor by-election made “little difference” as the battle from the get-go had been between him and his former party, Umno.
“The fight from day one is between me and Umno. It still is,” Zaid said, when asked at a press conference at PKR’s media centre here on Tuesday.
The by-election went from a four-cornered fight to a straight battle after the two independents, former Hulu Selangor MIC division deputy chief VS Chandran and former Shah Alam Umno Youth committee member Johan Mohd Diah, withdrew from the race ahead of the April 25 polling day.
Zaid, who was formerly the de facto law minister in 2008, said he expected a “tough” battle with Umno. He also took a swipe at Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate P Kamalanathan, who is MIC’s information chief.
“If it’s just MIC, it’s not so tough. But look at the posters, it’s all the prime minister’s (Datuk Seri Najib Razak) posters all over town. But I’ll do everything to make sure I win,” Zaid said.
Asked what he planned to do if he lost the by-election, Zaid quipped, “If you want to know ask me on April 26 (a day after polling day)”.
Zaid also laughed when asked if he would be disappointed and quit PKR if he was defeated in the by-election.
“I am not easily disappointed,” said the 59-year-old Kelantan-born politician.
Zaid declined to comment on allegations surfacing on blogs which attempted to link him to race horses, saying he had yet to read the websites.
“What’s the problem with owning horses? I think the Umno guys don’t understand. Tunku Abdul Rahman (Malaysia’s first prime minister) used to own horses, I used to own horses.
“But to say that I am a gambling guy, that is not correct. That is slanderous (fitnah). The gambling guys are all in Umno. They go to casinos all over the world,” Zaid said, adding that he would not name anyone.
When asked, Zaid said he would not take legal action against the blog owners, saying, “If you are going to sue everybody putting up blogs, you’re going to end up doing nothing else with your life”.
To other questions, Zaid said that in his week of campaigning he sensed that people were “tired of political promises”.
“There’s a sense of skepticism… I try to persuade them that I can solve their problems,” Zaid said.
The former Kota Bharu member of parliament reiterated that he had the Selangor state government’s support and enjoyed a long friendship with Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim.
Zaid said when picked as PKR’s candidate, the first thing he did was to meet Khalid to discuss Hulu Selangor’s local issues because he felt the Pakatan Rakyat-led state administration was important for his victory.
“After nominations on Saturday, I remember saying I have fallen in love with Hulu Selangor. It’s true. It’s a wonderful place,” Zaid said.
Zaid said he would focus on youth issues, land problems and development in the constituency.
PKR is betting on Zaid to retain the Hulu Selangor seat which was held for two years by Datuk Dr Zainal Abidin Ahmad, whose death on March 25 paved the way for the by-election.
The battle has been intense as Zainal Abidin only won the seat during the 2008 general election by a slim 198-vote majority from MIC Deputy President Datuk G Palanivel, who had been Hulu Selangor’s MP for four terms.
The vast parliamentary constituency has 64,500 registered voters including 799 postal voters. Majority of the voters here are Malays which constitute 52.7%, followed by the Chinese with 26.3%, Indians at 19.3% and 1.7% of voters from other races
Source : The EdgeDaily