KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 8 — Datuk Zaid Ibrahim has dropped out of the PKR deputy presidential race and resigned from all posts in the party, saying the party “leadership actively condones malpractices and electoral fraud to achieve its designed objectives”.
The maverick politician was seen as giving a stiff fight in the ongoing party polls to vice-president Azmin Ali, who is said to enjoy the backing of party de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
Zaid and fellow deputy presidential hopeful Mustafa Kamil Ayub had asked for a halt in the party’s first direct elections, citing irregularities including the latest claims that ballot papers were available outside the polling process for possible manipulation of results.
Party secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution Ismail has denied the claims, citing five security features. He however did not explain how the ballot papers were made available to outsiders.
The party’s denial did not placate Zaid’s team’s concerns, leading to the shock announcement early this morning.
“I wish to announce my withdrawal as a candidate from the contest of deputy president of Parti Keadilan Rakyat and my resignation from all posts held in the party.
“I was offered to join this party under the belief that I could promote enlightened and progressive politics; nurture and develop principled political values and culture that I consider indispensable to the development of democracy and good governance in this country. I was mistaken,” Zaid said in a terse six-paragraph statement released to all media.
The former de facto law minister had quit the Abdullah administration in late 2008 over the detention of DAP leader Teresa Kok, blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin and journalist Tan Hoon Cheng under the Internal Security Act. The one-time Kota Baru MP was later kicked out of Umno.
He was PKR’s candidate in the Hulu Selangor by-election last April but failed to defend the federal seat.
“Over the course of the party elections, events have shown that the leadership actively condones malpractices and electoral fraud to achieve its designed objectives. I am certain that any political party with such hypocritical and false values will not be able to offer meaningful reforms to the people of this country.
“I have made this decision because there is no attempt on the part of the party leadership to address the various issues of manipulation and unfair electoral practices, although these issues were raised repeatedly,” added the party political bureau member and Federal Territory PKR chief.
Zaid, who oversaw PKR and its allies DAP and PAS’s efforts to formalise its Pakatan Rakyat (PR) pact, thanked all the members who had supported him.
“It is of utmost disappointment that I am unable to continue in this flawed election process. I remain committed to the Opposition’s cause and will continue to speak about the issues of the common people.
“Together, we will continue our unabated struggle towards a better government for the people,” he said.
Zaid also took a dig at Anwar supporters who were against his candidacy for the deputy presidency which is not being defended by incumbent Senator Dr Syed Husin Ali.
“Finally, I hope those adoring fans of Anwar Ibrahim will no longer regard me as a ‘spoiler’ standing in the way of their march to Putrajaya. I wish them well,” he said.