Zaid was chosen because he has money, says Muhyiddin

By Debra Chong (Malaysian Insider)
PETALING JAYA, April 14 — Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin today claimed that Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, the opposition bloc’s candidate for Hulu Selangor, was picked for his deep pockets and not his ability to serve.
“I was notified he was chosen because he has a lot of money. Not because he can serve,” he replied when asked his view whether PKR’s decision to field the former Umno man in the April 25 poll showed it had run out of suitable candidates.
“However, the decision is theirs. I am confident the voters, they want development,” he added.
Kelantan-born Zaid was officially named as PKR’s candidate last night.
Formerly the minister in charge of law, Zaid had quit in late 2008 to protest arbitrary detention of DAP MP Teresa Kok, blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin and reporter Tan Hoon Cheng.
He 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.
But Muhyiddin, who is also Umno deputy president, has been taking shots at his former Cabinet colleague since word leaked that the ex-senator had been shortlisted.
Speaking to reporters after launching the 14th Malaysian Education Summit here this morning, Muhyiddin hinted that the charismatic Zaid who was last night described as a highly-principled man by Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, had a “record” but did not elaborate.
“If the Hulu Selangor voters want to know about Zaid Ibrahim they can go to Kota Bharu and see for themselves. He was the Kota Bharu MP and also the Umno division chief,” Muhyiddin told reporters in Perlis yesterday.
The ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government will name its candidate tomorrow in what appears to be a toss-up between MIC deputy president Datuk G. Palanivel and Hulu Selangor Youth chief V. Mugilan.
MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu has declared support for his deputy but Umno appears to be more keen on the Hulu Selangor-born Mugilan.
But Muhyiddin today denied he was backing the younger MIC man when quizzed about it.