Zaid to contest Hulu Selangor

By Adib Zalkapli (Malaysian Insider)
KUALA LUMPUR, April 13 — Former Law Minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim is PKR’s candidate for the Hulu Selangor by-election.
The decision to nominate the former Kota Bharu Umno division chief was made at PKR’s political bureau meeting earlier today, said a party insider.
“They want a national figure, a local strongman is not good enough for this by-election,” said a PKR leader in justifying Zaid’s candidacy.
[Zaid speaking at the PR Convention last year. – Picture by Jack Ooi]
Zaid speaking at the PR Convention last year. – Picture by Jack Ooi
Apart from Zaid, the national leadership had considered nominating local-born neurosurgeon Datuk Dr Halili Rahmat whose name was proposed by the Hulu Selangor PKR division.
Zaid, who was sacked from Umno for attending opposition party events, joined PKR last year and was subsequently appointed to the party’s political bureau.
He was also responsible for drawing up the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) common policy framework aimed at bringing together the loose coalition of PAS, PKR and DAP.
A controversial figure, Zaid resigned from the Cabinet in late 2008 to protest the ISA arrest of Selangor executive councillor Teresa Kok, blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin and journalist Tan Hoon Cheng.
As a Kota Bharu Umno chief in 2002, he sued the PAS-led Kelantan and Terengganu governments for attempting to enact Islamic criminal laws. The suit was subsequently withdrawn.
The PKR leadership had received at least 15 names suggested by various quarters from within the party soon after the seat was declared vacant.
PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim interviewed some of the potential candidates before making the final decision.
Among those whose names were on the list are Youth chief Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin, Kelana Jaya division chief Syed Shahir Syed Mohamud who is also MTUC president, Sabak Bernam division chief Badrul Amin Bahron and lawyer N. Surendran.
The Hulu Selangor division had also proposed its chief Nashruddin Abdul Aziz, vice-chief Razali Mokhtar and treasurer Dr Halili.
Another name mentioned was Khalid Jaafar, who is also a PKR supreme council member and a long-time resident of Hulu Selangor.
Zaid’s candidacy will be announced officially by Anwar tonight at a public rally at the Serendah Community Centre. It will also be attended by DAP’s Lim Kit Siang and PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang.
Barisan Nasional (BN) is expected to announce its candidate on Thursday.
Nomination for the by-election has been set for April 17 while polling is on April 25.