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UMNO fires back at Zaid - malaysiakini

Malaysiakini's report:

Zaid Ibrahim must show evidence of the alleged 'double standards' in Umno's decision to sack him, said party supreme council member and Foreign Minister Dr Rais Yatim today.

rais yatim 03"He should prove it so that Umno can investigate the matter and could give him an answer," he told a press conference at the Parliament lobby.

Rais added that Zaid's right to be heard must also be considered by the party as the latter had claimed that he was not given an opportunity to explain the accusation against him.

Zaid was sacked from from Umno on Tuesday mainly for attending several opposition functions which was perceived to be against party ethics.

zaid ibrahimHowever, the former de facto minister stated that he is not interested in joining any other political parties in the near future.

Commenting on this, Rais said it is up to Zaid if he wished to remain active in politics or otherwise.

No links to Mumbai attacks

In an unrelated development, the foreign minister said there is no evidence to link Malaysia to the Mumbai terror attack which led to the death of 188 people, including a Malaysian woman, last week.

"What happened in Mumbai was that there were many parties involved in the investigations... it was probed by international agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Scotland Yard and there were also investigations by non-governmental parties," said Rais.

"Elements that were conceded in the allegation that were supposedly linked to Malaysia was the findings of the non-governmental agencies," he added.

On the same note, Rais also expressed concern over the growing anti-Islam perception around the world following the Sept 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.

"Teasing and condemning Islam has worsened until an anti-Islam perception or Islamophobia has spread throughout the world labelling all Muslims as terrorist," he told the Dewan Rakyat.

Malaysia, he said, is working with other Islamic nations like Saudi Arabia and Indonesia as well as with the United Nations (UN) and Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to change this perspective.

"This is something we have to manage together not only by Islamic countries, OIC or UN but all humanity through humanitarian efforts... if it is not done in an united way with the integration of all communities we would become victimised by various slander," he explained.

He said the ministry would also consider inviting liberal writers like Karen Armstrong, who has penned several renowned books on Islam and religions after the Sept 11, 2001 attacks, to talk on issues pertaining to the perception of Islam -