He says he has the potential to topple Anwar Ibrahim, his erstwhile ally, at the March 23 polls and dealPakatan a massive blow by winning the seat, or splitting the votes and ensuring a BN win.
Yet, Zaid believes that defeating Anwar will solidify Khalid Ibrahim’s position as Selangor Menteri Besar. And this, he said, will ensure Pakatan remains strong in the state and in the country as a whole.
It is an ironic stance, given the reason PKR offered for engineering the by-election was so that Anwar could strengthen the state government from within, and defend it against Umno’s attacks.
But in an exclusive interview with FMT, Zaid said replacing Khalid with Anwar would only split up the opposition coalition as not all parties agree to the idea.
“Pakatan didn’t say they don’t want (Khalid). I thought they did, but no, obviously it is only PKR who doesn’t want him. Only Anwar and his group don’t want him,” said the former cabinet minister.
“I haven’t heard that PAS doesn’t want Khalid. Maybe DAP, but not PAS…so this will cause a split in Pakatan.”
Zaid said the situation was made worst by the fact that there was no guarantee the Sultan of Selangor would consent to Anwar becoming MB even if the PKR de facto chief does win the Kajang seat.
“I suggest everyone go see the Tuanku if you want to change. Go as a group, give all the names, and let him decide who’s acceptable. Then you have a by-election based on the person (the Sultan prefers).
“This is not what happened. We got a candidate, Anwar Ibrahim, yet we don’t even know if Tuanku will agree or not. So this will cause more split,” said Zaid.
‘With Anwar gone, Pakatan will be stronger’
But should Zaid win in the by-election instead, such a dilemma will not unfold and Pakatan would be saved from the internal conflict, he claimed.
“If I come in, Anwar will lose, then nobody will want to become menteri besar and Khalid can stay on as menteri besar,” said Zaid.
“If you want stability, if you want Pakatan Rakyat to win the elections, or rather if you want Pakatan to still be a stable government in Selangor, then you must let Khalid rule.”
When asked why he didn’t sit back and just allow the other Kajang candidates to slug it out with Anwar, Zaid’s answer was simple: “Because I’m better.”
He said his presence in the state assembly could bring stability to the party, as he had “friends”, unlike Anwar.
“Even though I’m not a member of Pakatan, I still have friends. I’m a friend of Umno, I’m a friend of Khalid, I’m a friend of everybody.
“I’m not like Anwar, Anwar is always divisive. So there’s a difference,” said Zaid.
Zaid also dismissed the notion that Anwar’s loss in Kajang would spell the end of Pakatan Rakyat, saying instead that the coalition would be stronger without him.
“Pakatan will be stronger without Anwar because there will be another leader more able to keep the pieces together. I don’t know (who), but there must be,” he said.
He added that it was crucial for him to win this by-election, as Selangor was one of the last few states Pakatan still held.
“Okay, they have Kelantan, but it’s very close, the majority is not very big. Penang is another one that is still intact,” he conceded.
“But they have lost Kedah, they have lost Perak. If they’re not careful, they will lose this one as well. So I think I’m helping Pakatan (as a whole) as well.”
– FREE MALAYSIA TODAY