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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Zaid: I know UMNO ministers who drink and gamble at casinos


PETALING JAYA, April 20: PKR's candidate in Hulu Selangor Zaid Ibrahim (pic)has hit back at UMNO's character-assassination campaign against him, saying he knew many UMNO leaders who still consumed alcohol and who were in debt due to excessive gambling at casinos.

In an exclusive interview with Harakah and Harakahdaily Monday, the former minister in the prime minister's department however refused to reveal their names.
He was responding to Barisan Nasional's campaign in the Hulu Selangor by-election which has included the distribution of doctored images of him consuming beer.
Zaid, who had since admitted that he was once a beer-drinker while still in UMNO, said he left the habit after he joined PKR.
"Let me be frank, that was the past. There are many UMNO ministers like me (who consumed alcohol), but it has never become an issue.
"But once I joined Pakatan Rakyat, my personality, my character and my faith are now being questioned," he said.
Zaid added that the difference between him and the UMNO ministers was that he had long stopped such a habit.
"I'm a mortal, and we are prone to committing mistakes in life. But more importantly, I have repented. Hence the difference between me and the UMNO ministers. I'm not a hypocrite."
Not an issue for PAS in 2004 GE
Touching on the by-election on April 25, Zaid said it was up to voters in Hulu Selangor to judge him based on his frank admission of his past.
Zaid however said accusations by UMNO that he was a gambler were not true.
"The heavy gamblers at the casinos are UMNO ministers, who are ridden with huge debts after squandering millions of ringgit, and yet no action is taken against them.
"But I will not name and shame them," he added.
Zaid said that his character was never made an issue in PAS's campaign against him in Kota Bharu - when he was fielded by BN against a PAS candidate during the 2004 general-elections - although he said the Islamic party was aware of his drinking habits back then.
"But UMNO leaders are so desperate and driven by fear, so they have to use such tactics to attack my person. Such is the real UMNO culture - that of people who fear for their power."


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