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Zaid: Joining UMNO was a mistake - malaysiakini

Malaysiakini's report:

Former de facto law minister Zaid Ibrahim has conceded, albeit in jest, that joining Umno could have been a mistake.


The outspoken former minister who was booted out of his party for his ‘public flirtation’ with the Pakatan Rakyat also remain tightlipped over his political future.

zaid ibrahim bar council event 121208 02Zaid made the remarks during a question-and-answer session at a Bar Council dinner commemorating the International Human Rights Day held at a restaurant in Sri Hartamas last night.

A participant had asked his rationale for joining Umno when he knew the ruling party has long been associated with allegations of human rights abuses.

“We all make mistakes in life,” he said, followed by laughter from the floor.

Zaid had resigned on Sept 15 from the cabinet after falling out with the government when it invoked the Internal Security Act on two opposition figures and a Chinese daily journalist.

Meanwhile, another participant questioned Zaid’s decision to quit and suggested that the former minister could have done more if he was in government.

zaid ibrahim bar council event 121208 01Zaid however defended his resignation.

“It wasn’t easy for me to resign, I think you all know why I did it, I had no choice. I could not be part of a government that makes those decisions. I felt that it was wrong for me to be a part of the team that makes that kind of decision,” he said.

“Sometimes people are confronted with a situation where he has to make a decision, some people may disagree, but that’s my decision,” he added.

‘There’s always time for politics’

Nevertheless, Zaid kept mum on his political future and reiterated that he would like to spend more time to work with young Malaysians in the promotion of human rights.

“I want to focus now on (his) My Future Foundation work, I just started a few months ago and I want to get this off the ground and I want to see how I can work with young people.

“There’s always time for politics. I just have to focus on my NGO (for now) and hope to see some results soon,” said Zaid, who is a trained lawyer and runs the country’s largest legal firm.

Zaid's attendance at the PKR congress on Dec 1 and a DAP dinner in Penang the day before as well as his statement that he was "keeping his options open" regarding his political future have fueled speculations that he may join the Pakatan opposition.

The former minister, however, shrugged off such suggestions.

Other prominent figures at the dinner were Bar Council president S Ambiga and the council’s Human Rights Committee chairperson Edmund Bon -