QUESTION TIME | Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has a tendency to shoot his mouth off which often got him into trouble but also frequently endeared him to the Malay, Muslim masses for his no-holds-barred, appeal-to-the-base approach when it comes to political combat.
But what is more worrisome than the underhanded, lowly, crude, tasteless attack on Dr Mahathir Mohamad, in particular, his Indian ancestry, is the stance that he has taken over the Court of Appeal ruling on the registration of Muslim children born out of wedlock. In effect he has advocated defiance of the court, inviting contempt of court.
We should be more concerned with this than with the tit-for-tat, the back-and-forth between the two sides over Mahathir’s ancestry for it exposes, alongside other things that have happened in the past, the true face of the man that Zahid actually is. Two major ones should suffice.
In 1998, when he was an Umno youth leader, he spoke up against then prime minister Mahathir, implying clearly that Mahathir should step down in favour of his deputy Anwar Ibrahim. We know the outcome of that gaffe, which earned Zahid time in the prison cell under the infamous Internal Security Act and Anwar time under sodomy convictions in addition.
Zahid’s political longevity, which had to be done with Mahathir’s concurrence, after something like that indicates his chameleon-like qualities to advance his fortunes, buttering up to the powers that be and using race and religion to advance his mass following. This one-time, hard-core supporter of Anwar, rehabilitated under Mahathir, is now taking potshots at Mahathir.
And it seems like he will stop at nothing to move his political career forward - he is not even afraid of associating himself quite publicly with known gangsters. Tiga Line is an illegal Malay gang but Zahid supports it as I commented in this article, titled “A gangster as home minister?” over three years ago....