“If he continues making statements like these, there is no future for him as a politician”
KUALA LUMPUR: Former minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, who recently joined the DAP, will not win admirers among Malay voters if he continues to make controversial statements, analysts said.
The ex-de facto law minister earlier this week stirred up controversy after criticising an AirAsia X pilot for asking passengers to pray during an emergency situation.
“If he continues this way, there will be negative perception about him among Malays and Muslims,” Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) political analyst Prof Jeniri Amir told Malay Mail Online.
“If he continues making statements like these, there is no future for him as a politician,” he warned further.
Zaid, who has a reputation for being an outspoken maverick, has been expected to whip up Malay votes for the DAP after he joined the predominantly Chinese party earlier this year. He previously founded his own party, KITA, and had also been with PKR and Umno prior.
He has already caused disagreement within Pakatan Harapan by repeatedly calling for former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to be the prime minister candidate for the Opposition coalition, despite his own party endorsing Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim for the role.
“He has to be careful with whatever he says, because it has repercussions not only for him, but also his party. He is tarnishing not only his own image, but DAP’s too,” Jeniri said.
Jeniri said that Zaid has only served to further cause disunity within Pakatan Harapan since joining DAP.
The analyst also said Zaid has not helped bridge the gaps between the component parties that have yet to agree on a prime minister candidate and are struggling to set aside differences to register themselves as a formal coalition.
Jeniri said that Zaid needs “wisdom” and also needs to “introspect” as to why his public statements had always caused much controversy.
“You can be blunt of a maverick, but in real politics, it does not work that way—you need to have good teamwork. You should not only consider your own opinion above everyone else’s,” Jeniri added.
Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) analyst Mohd Azizuddin Mohd Sani said that Zaid has had “minimal” impact since joining DAP and was also left perplexed by the former minister’s public statements.
“I am not sure why he does what he does. He has no grassroots, he has no supporter base, he can move around as and when it suits him, and he does not command youth support,” Azizuddin told Malay Mail Online.
Azizuddin said that having Zaid in the party does not help DAP gain more Malay votes and that the party will have to continue relying on other Pakatan Harapan component parties to help deliver Malay votes in their direction.
Oh Ei Sun, adjunct senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, said that Zaid simply does not seem to be able to “stay with a party” or adhere to party stands.
“It simply appears that he can’t stay with a party and adhere to the party’s principles in a sustainable fashion.
“This of course prejudices him in the Asian political environment where a somewhat Leninist party discipline is often expected,” he said.
Oh said that politicians like Zaid are more suited to the American political system, which provides a better chance for personalities such as US president Donald Trump to “make it to the top”.
Source: The Malay Mail Online