KUALA LUMPUR, May 3 — Former minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim said today that any Malaysian can aspire to be prime minister, after PAS suggested limiting the office to Muslims.
Zaid also told non-Muslim politicians to take a more positive stance instead of saying that they did not want the top government position.
“They need to say that every Malaysian — even if they are Chinese — can become the Prime Minister as long as the majority of Malaysians are happy with the choice.
“They should also say that even Penang can have a Malay Chief Minister if the majority of Chinese are happy with the person chosen for the post,” Zaid wrote on his blog.
DAP secretary-general and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said yesterday that PAS’ proposal to amend the Federal Constitution to limit the prime minister’s post to Muslims was discriminatory and “very dangerous”, even though non-Malays and non-Muslims “had never made claims for the post”.
Zaid said Malaysia would turn into failed states like Somalia or Yemen if the only person fit to be PM was a Muslim leader chosen by ruling Malay party Umno and Islamist Opposition party PAS, and endorsed by Malay-Muslims rights groups Perkasa and Isma.
“It’s the job of politicians, especially those in the Opposition, to tell people what’s good for them.
“You cannot talk about good governance and leadership with integrity if you then backtrack and qualify it by saying that non-Malays are not acceptable or have no desire to be Prime Minister,” said the former de facto law minister.
Zaid, who is now a DAP member, pointed out that non-Muslim Dayaks and Kadazans were just as deserving as everyone else to hold the country’s highest office.
“Any Malaysian can aspire to be Prime Minister, and that position must be supported by all of us who want this country to prosper. The only qualification for the premiership is that this person must be acceptable to the majority of the people of this country,” he said.