Malaysia needs a prime minister, not an emperor, Zaid says

Zaid said voters must now seek a replacement for Najib because the PM has failed to answer the many allegations plaguing his administration. — Picture by Choo Choy May
Zaid said voters must now seek a replacement for Najib because the PM has failed to answer the many allegations plaguing his administration. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, April 30 — Malaysians did not elect an emperor as their prime minister in the last federal polls, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim told Datuk Seri Najib Razak today as he joined calls for the latter’s resignation.

He pointed out that unlike a prime minister, who is duty bound by the democratic system to be answerable to those who elected him, an emperor spends money as he pleases and answers to no one but himself.

In a blog post today, Zaid used the example of France’s King Louis XIV, a ruler who declared himself to be the state of France, which meant that his decrees were taken as law and no other authority mattered.

“No one could or had the right to question him (King Louis XIV). He spent the state’s money as he liked and accounted to no one, not even to the papal authority.

“His commands were followed and his coterie of loyal servants prospered,” he said.

But Zaid said as a democratically elected prime minister in Malaysia, Najib must accept that he is under obligation to answer the many allegations plaguing his administration, like the controversies surrounding state-owned 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and the murder of Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu.

Failure to respond adequately to these controversies should then result in Najib’s resignation, Zaid continued, repeating the demand of former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Najib’s harshest critic.

Furthermore, as finance minister, Zaid said Najib is ultimately responsible for 1MDB, which is now saddled with a staggering RM48 billion debt.

He questioned why the prime minister has not appeared to be embarrassed by the fact that the company has had to “hawk the streets” for funds to pay the RM2 billion it owed in interest payments to banks.

“But he does not bother to answer the many questions raised regarding 1MDB because he is an Emperor,” Zaid said.

Claiming it is now clear that Malaysia is no longer led by a prime minister but an emperor, the former law minister said voters must now seek a replacement for Najib.

Without offering further details, Zaid invited Malaysians to join him and several other friends this May 23 to “explain further why we now need to look for a new prime minister”.

“I will let you know when the venue is secured. Please show your support by peacefully working for the reinstatement of a proper prime minister,” he said.

Dr Mahathir has been pushing openly for Najib’s resignation, saying the latter’s refusal to address allegations such as those surrounding 1MDB and Altantuya’s murder puts Barisan Nasional’s (BN) rule at risk.