By Dato’ Mohd Zaid bin Ibrahim
Last week I wrote in my blog; an article addressed to UMNO members that they should not judge Najib Razak too harshly as the legal process is not over yet. I also said I believe his story that Saudi King Abdullah gave him the donation. I also mentioned the possibility that Najib himself is a victim of a political conspiracy.
The article attracted a deluge of criticisms, but I did not expect them to call me names. Some likened me to Raja Petra. I am not averse to criticisms; as I have received my fair share of cruel and unfounded personal attacks in the past. After all, this is not the first time I took a stand on “unpopular” issues of the day. I have never shied away from controversial issues if I believe in them, especially those useful for the public to understand.
I took up the case against the Kelantan “hudud law” because I believe it is against the Federal Constitution. Many Malays called me “apostate” for taking this action and I almost lost the General Election in 2004. When I spoke and wrote extensively in the 1990s about the need to remove “immunity” from the Malay Rulers for personal misconduct, they labelled me a traitor. I suggested MARA took some non-Malays into UITM as that will be good for the Malays, as they will have to be more competitive. What do I get? I was shunned by ITM, my alma mater, to this very day. I defended DAP in front of Malay crowds because I believe the party has some good people who genuinely believe in good governance and worthy of being made partners by Malay political groups to move forward in our nation-building. Till today I have to live with the label “ a DAP puppet.”
I am not proud of being a maverick or an outlier. The only thing I can offer to the public is my views on matters of public interest, given honestly and truthfully. My views may be flawed and my reasoning faulty, but they are never dishonest or contrived. Maybe that’s why many news portals and bloggers are willing to publish my views regularly. I never received any payment from them, nor do I share their political agenda or beliefs. The precious little thing that I have is self-respect. That matters. That’s why In all the years I partook in public life I have never taken money from anyone or position in exchange for support on matters that I do not believe in.
It is hurtful that some people think that I must have been paid for defending “personalities’ like the former PM in the sunset years of my life. Maybe they think that because I am the poorest ex-Minister in the history of the country; I must have succumbed to temptations. Yes, I am not rich, living from hand to mouth because I am not able to practice. I am just too proud to use another person’s name other than my own. But I cannot do that until the court makes its decision. I am jobless, which makes me neither B40 nor M40 to get any support from the government. With Covid 19 getting out of control life is more complicated than during the Japanese occupation.
This piece is written not to appease those who hate me; but to assure my family, friends and readers that I will continue to engage in public discourse with honesty and integrity. I have nothing else to offer the Malaysian public.
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This post first appeared on Datuk Zaid Ibrahim‘s Facebook page.