13 June, 2009

Zaid Ibrahim joins PKR!

Former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Zaid Ibrahim has joined Parti Keadilan Rakyat.

After months of keeping the nation in suspense, former law minister Zaid Ibrahim has decided to join Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim’s PKR party.

“I’m confident in the party’s cause. I believe I have an opportunity to assist Anwar and PKR,” said Zaid.

“I am ready to help Pakatan become an alternative and viable government that the people can rely on.”

The announcement was made during a press conference at a PKR special congress called to push through iconic reforms aimed at taking the party to the forefront of the political league and helping it to achieve national power together with its coalition allies DAP and PAS.

According to Anwar, Zaid’s entry will be a big boost for the party because “he is known for his bravery in defending human rights and the independence of the judiciary”.

The well-respected lawyer is expected to be made a member of the party’s powerful supreme council and its political bureau.

Zaid had resigned from the cabinet in 2008 to protest the use of the Internal Security Act to arrest three civilians - DAP MP for Seputeh Teresa Kok, blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin, and journalist Tan Hoon Cheng.

Three months later, he was sacked from Umno for ostensibly attending functions held by the PKR and DAP.

During his short tenure as minister, he attempted to introduce reforms to the judiciary and pushed for compensation to be paid to judges sacked during the 1988 judiciary crisis.

But it is his role as a reformist and moderate which is expected to be a big boost for PR as Anwar attempts to put the opposition alliance’s agenda for reform back on track.

The PR alliance has been beset by crisis in recent weeks with PAS and DAP leaders at loggerheads over the Islamist party’s attempts to hold talks with Umno on Malay unity.

Anwar will be hoping Zaid can help bridge the differences between the secular and Chinese dominated DAP and the Islamist Malay PAS.

Zaid said today he was ready to help make PR a better alternative to BN.

He said he had friends in both PAS as well as DAP and feels he can play a meaningful role.

“The first step is to be better friends before we can move forward.” he said.

Meanwhile Anwar said Zaid’s entry was a positive development and would provide a boost to PKR.

“Zaid has a reputation for fighting for human rights and for the independence of the judiciary.”

He said PKR could use Zaid’s experience and exposure.

Anwar said Zaid’s role with Pakatan Rakyat would be formalised only after discussions with other component parties to be held next week.

He added that the PKR president would also decide on Zaid’s formal role in PKR.

However due to his experience Zaid is expected to be given a seat in the party’s supreme council and political bureau.



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