Former law minister Zaid Ibrahim tweaked Zainuddin Maidin today for announcing he was giving up political blogging, and not sticking by his mentor Mahathir Mohamad. At the same time, he took a sharp dig at Anwar Ibrahim (whose rivalry with Mahathir stretches back two decades), whom Zam had blamed for his being removed as Utusan Malaysia chief editor in 1998.
In a tweet on Twitter, Zaid said: “Come on Zam, be a man, don’t submit if you believe in the cause?” Zaid pointed out that “country was going down” (possibly a reference to current economic problems, a ballooning deficit, and political malaise).
But he also reminded Zam that “to be bold you have to be clean” — a point he was to repeat, about anti-Najib Umno rebels, but possibly also a dig at Anwar of whom it has been said that he had “too much baggage” to be a credible alternative.
Zaid followed up with a reminder to Zam that he had reached the top through Mahathir, urging the former editor to stick by his mentor. Zam was removed as chief editor of Utusan after Anwar became deputy prime minister, and was replaced by Anwar ally Johan Jaffar. When Anwar fell from grace, Johan was removed, in turn, and Zam became a senator under Mahathir and later information minister under Abdullah Badawi.
Mahathir, who has waged a campaign against prime minister Najib Razak, sniping at Najib on his government’s handling of the economy and especially at the handling of billions of ringgit in the goverment-owned investment arm 1Malaysia Development Bhd.
In response Najib supporters have launched an attack on Mahathir’s former ally and former finance minister Daim Zainuddin who has remained a powerful background presence in Malay and Malaysian politics. Anwar Ibrahim joined the fray this week, in a move viewed as a means of aligning himself with the Najib forces in view of a decision by the Federal Court on sodomy charges against Anwar.
He said anti-Najib forces in Umno were reluctant to tell all (and possibly a dig at Anwar as well) because they had too much dirt on them.
Interesting times indeed.