Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi needs to temper his image as a "political animal" to suit his new post, says veteran journalist A Kadir Jasin.
He said this is one of several things that Zahid needs to do in order to strengthen Umno and the government, instead of merely propping up Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.
“He has to temper his ‘political animal’ image with a more smoothening temperament of a DPM and national leader,” Kadir ( photo ) wrote in his blog posting today.
The former New Straits Times editor-in-chief said that Zahid would also need to prove his skills in managing the economy with his years of experience as a banker, and that he is capable of returning credibility and trust to the government.
In addition, Kadir said, regardless of how Najib is justifying the 1MDB debacle, Zahid must admit that 1MDB is “a good example of bad corporate governance”, for supposedly flouting numerous rules and standards.
“I would like to assume that Zahid acknowledges that saving the economy is as much his priority as showing undivided loyalty to Najib...
“Who else after Najib, if not him? (Zahid’s predecessor) Muhyiddin Yassin might have blown his chances by being indecisive and (Gua Musang MP) Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah might not be going anywhere with the unity government proposal.
“Najib might never be toppled in a no-confidence vote in the Dewan Rakyat,” Kadir wrote.
Deportation won't help Malaysia’s image
Zahid was appointed as deputy prime minister in a cabinet reshuffle in late July, replacing the incumbent Muyhiddin. He still retains his post as home minister.
In an apparent reference to the deportation of the Al Jazeera journalist Mary Ann Jolley on June 14, Kadir told Zahid that deporting journalists would not help Malaysia’s image.
“As home minister, he must realise that deporting and seeking arrest of foreign journalists who write negative things about the country do not help to convince the world that we are a democratic, civilised and moderate country.
“It does not help convince visitors and investors that we are a safe place to be,” he said.