KUALA LUMPUR, March 14 — Amid doubt from government leaders and some civil society leaders, former minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim sought to play up today the alliance between Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his long-time DAP foe Lim Kit Siang as a powerful force for the country’s future.
The former de facto law minister said the two veteran politicians still command formidable support from the country’s two biggest races, noting that Dr Mahathir was responsible for uplifting the economic conditions of the Malays during his administration, while DAP parliamentary leader Lim had championed not only the causes of the Chinese community like vernacular education and Chinese culture but the “larger struggle” against corruption.
“Like it or not, the Chinese community will never desert him, just as the Malays will not abandon Dr Mahathir, no matter how vile and vicious the treatment he receives from Putrajaya and some civil society leaders who think they are whiter than white.
“Both men are true Malaysian patriots. They care about the country and its future,” Zaid wrote in his blog post titled “Malays-DAP alliance”.
Zaid said Dr Mahathir and Lim are seen as “gigantic leaders” within their respective communities.
He noted that Dr Mahathir was so intent on reducing the economic disparity between the Bumiputera and other ethnic groups that the former Umno president was accused of being a “racist”.
“But Tun has never been a racist. He was not interested for Malays to be ‘Tuan’, regardless of the circumstances. He was alluding to the fact that the majority group in the country are the Malays, which means they have to take charge. This is a fact we have to accept,” said Zaid.
Zaid also said any administration that replaces Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s government would still hold the same “collaboration” between the majority Malay community and other races.
“A Malay will still be Prime Minister. Malays will continue to hold more seats in the Cabinet, but the Chinese and Indian members will be real representatives of their communities,” he said.
Dr Mahathir and Lim, together with other Barisan Nasional veterans, opposition leaders and human rights activists, recently banded together in a “Save Malaysia” movement by signing a Citizens’ Declaration that called for Najib’s removal.
The alliance between former political enemies has sparked criticism not only from Umno leaders aligned to Najib, but also from civil society groups opposed to Dr Mahathir.