KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 10 ― Datuk Zaid Ibrahim believes Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is currently the de facto Opposition Leader despite repeated denials by Pakatan Harapan.
Zaid, in an interview with Malay Mail Online, said the former prime minister is currently the only leader with the calibre to unite and lead the Opposition in the absence of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who is in prison.
“I think he is the de facto leader now,” Zaid, a former party colleague of Dr Mahathir, told Malay Mail Online.
“He is the only leader with an opinion, strong, who has the experience,” he added.
Zaid, who recently joined the DAP, also claimed that the Opposition pact has a silent agreement that Dr Mahathir is the current de facto chief.
“We have a leader. Just that it's not spoken or proclaimed. But Mahathir is the de facto (leader) and I'm happy with that,” he said.
Barisan Nasional leaders, in an apparent bid to drive a wedge in the opposition, had in the past claimed Dr Mahathir was the new de facto Opposition Leader.
The former prime minister has consistently appeared in major events held by the Opposition, often becoming a spokesman.
After he left Umno to form Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, Dr Mahathir, the party's chairman, is also seen as leading the negotiations on seat allocations between the Opposition parties.
But PKR leaders like Nurul Izzah, daughter of then Opposition Leader Anwar, and Amanah MP Dr Hatta Ramli have rubbished the allegations.
They said that the post belongs to PKR president and parliamentary Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
Anwar, who was Dr Mahathir's deputy then, is currently serving a jail sentence for sodomy.