KUALA LUMPUR - Former law minister Zaid Ibrahim on Tuesday (Feb 7) announced he had joined opposition Chinese-majority Democratic Action Party (DAP), as Malaysia's opposition geared up for the next election.
Datuk Zaid, who was a minister during former prime minister Abdullah Badawi's leadership, told reporters he was making his third attempt in politics.
"Leaders must be honest, fair and aspire to do justice, and I believe DAP can and has succeeded in achieving all this," he said at a press conference.
On the likelihood of him contesting in the next election due by 2018, Mr Zaid said it's up to the party to decide. However, he is open to wooing Malay voters, a crucial group that the opposition is eyeing in order to win the election.
Mr Zaid was previously an Umno member, followed by a brief membership in jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR). He was also a president of a small Kelantan-based opposition party called Parti Kesejahteraan Insan Tanah Air (KITA).
Despite being seen as a liberal, Mr Zaid was confident he could speak to Malays of different backgrounds.
"I'm comfortable with my Malay credentials, whether it's the kampung or city or conservative or liberal".
Among those who attended the news conference on Tuesday were DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang and former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Mr Lim said the party intends to "counter fake news" that has been spreading, referring to Umno's claim that the DAP would take away Malay rights.
Seeking to break racial lines which he claimed are played by the ruling party, Mr Lim said: "With Zaid's entry, we will get Malaysians to look at issues as Malaysians".
In a show of support, Dr Mahathir, who founded Umno splinter group Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM), was also present at the news conference.
"I hope he will stay in DAP a little bit longer," he said jokingly to the crowd.