APRIL 15 — As the shootout for Hulu Selangor draws near, the dirty campaign of Umno has begun in full swing. Predictably, Umno are not focusing on the issues of the rakyat. Umno are focused on the only thing they know, and that is: to spread lies and misinformation.
According to the deputy prime minister and his hired hands, one of the issues plaguing my candidacy is my disciplinary record, specifically of being suspended by Umno for money politics. As a result of that, they conveniently use this to accuse me of being everything under the sun: corrupt, greedy, wealthy, etc.
As always, the truth will set you free. It is perhaps something Umno is unfamiliar with. Time and time again, they continue to underestimate the intelligence of the rakyat and try to confuse them with fiction, but the rakyat knows better.
I have defended myself from these accusations many times, but will do so again.
So here it is…
In 2001, I won the contest for the post of Umno division chief for Kota Bharu. Took me three attempts and 10 years to do that but I did it.
That position left them with no choice but to field me as a candidate for March 2004 General Election. I won a hard-fought contest for the Kota Bharu Parliamentary seat, although the 3 State Assembly seats in that parliamentary constituency was won by PAS. (Somewhat similar to the present situation in Hulu Selangor where the 3 State seats were won by BN in 2008, and now I am trying to win it again for PKR). I expected a more supportive reaction from Umno considering the significance of the victory — it was the first time after 15 years of PAS rule, that BN at last won the Kota Bharu seat.
But it was not to be. They were ready to knife me again. By June 2004, there was again another contest for the Umno Kota Bharu Division. Fortunately, I was able to retain the seat as division chief, uncontested. But other positions in the party were up for grabs. During that contest, certain individuals issued complaints by way of signing false statutory declarations that I had given money to “my agent”, the late Datuk Zahari Wahab in exchange for votes, purportedly on my behalf.
On Oct 16, 2004, I was charged for money politics. I found this charge to be utterly ridiculous, because I won the seat uncontested. There was no opponent. So, how could I be charged for money politics, when there is no contest? But within Umno, I guess anything is possible.
For the charges to have any merit, there must be a witness to support the charge of money politics. If accusations against my friend, Zahari Wahab, of giving money for votes had any merit, how were they certain it wasn’t for Zahari’s own campaign?
At the time, Zahari himself was contesting for the vice presidency of the division. Even if it was true that Zahari had indulged in money politics, he might have done it for himself as he was the one contesting.
By the time the first hearing came up before the Umno disciplinary board, Zahari Wahab had unfortunately passed away. Incidentally, he, too, was charged with money politics, which I believe was also false.
But with his demise, the Umno disciplinary board could not put forth Zahari to support their claims. They did not put forth any other witness to support these accusations, other than the false statutory declarations, which I had no opportunity to challenge, nor the makers of these statements.
I described the proceedings as a sham and that upset them. They were determined to pass this judgment on me without any basis whatsoever.
It was clear that I was being framed. I challenged and questioned the system, of how the Board arrived at their decision without any supporting proof or evidence.
In the end, the Umno disciplinary board ruled that I was guilty of money politics. But, they were indeed willing to spare me any punishment, on the condition that I apologise to the Umno disciplinary board for questioning their process and authority.
Under no circumstances was I ever going to apologise to the board. Any apology for my alleged actions to the board would implicitly be admitting my guilt, and I was not going to compromise on the principle of the matter and my innocence. When I refused to apologise, that was when the Umno board suspended me for 3 years.
In 2008, when I was made a minister, I did not wish for there to be any doubt as to my character and credibility as I undertook this important responsibility in what I consider to be a reformist Government. I wanted to clear my name of any suspicion of those charges.
So, I requested the then Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) to investigate me further, to clear my name once and for all. Till today, they have not come forth with any outcome. If I was really as guilty as so they claim, why did they make me a minister? Because the truth is, I did not do anything as claimed by my opponents in Umno; that is why I was made a minister.
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin suggested today (April 14) that I was picked as the candidate for Hulu Selangor supposedly because of my deep pockets. My lovely wife and daughter, Alysha are very excited now; they asked me where did I hide my wealth and they insist that I take them out shopping. Now, I’m in trouble!
I suggest it is best for the DPM to hold his tongue. It is certainly not befitting of a DPM to stoop so low and make such claims. If he were to make such claims, then he must stand by those statements.
I was never wealthy, unlike other Umno ministers. I was a minister for only 6 months. And before that I was never a crony of any one, nor obtained any concessions or APs or even blocks of shares. In the interest of transparency, I would be prepared to disclose to the public my possessions and my so called “wealth”; and that of my family and my children as well, on the condition that the DPM and his colleagues in Cabinet are willing to do the same of their own possessions, of their families, of their children, and their nominees.
During my brief tenure as minister, (Tun) Pak Lah and I suggested that Cabinet ministers should declare their assets. To show that BN ministers are clean and not afraid of full accountability and transparency in their dealings.
Many senior ministers opposed this idea. They opposed everything good that Pak Lah wanted to do. I wonder what the DPM has to say about this now.
If he hasn’t got anything useful to add, I suggest to the DPM that we move on and address the issues I have raised for the people in Hulu Selangor. And the issues facing the country. Lets have a fair fight and see who has the support of the people! — myzaidibrahim.wordpress.com
* Datuk Zaid Ibrahim is the PKR candidate for Hulu Selangor.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified.
Hold your horses, Mr Muhyiddin — Zaid Ibrahim