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13 Attention-Grabbing Quotes From Dato' Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi's First Week As Deputy PM

The newly-minted deputy Prime Minister is wasting no time in proving his mettle, calling for positive change in UMNO's ranks, and other prevailing issues.

Cover image via The Rakyat Post / SAYS

1. "I have understood him (Najib) for 28 long years. Not only his thinking, but also his body language by having good chemistry with him."

In an exclusive interview with English daily New Straits Times, Ahmad Zahid said that he has been very consistent in his support for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak dating years back when he was appointed as Najib’s first political secretary when Najib was first put into the Federal Government.

I have understood him for 28 long years. Not only his thinking, but also his body language by having, I would say, good chemistry with him. I reckon we have gone through turbulence when we were in Umno youth and we faced a lot of unbecoming political scenarios then. But in the youth leadership then, I think he managed to resolve most of the problems due to our togetherness,” said Ahmad Zahid as quoted by the daily.

therakyatpost.com

"I would be a failure if I still cannot read what is in Najib's mind, and he would also be disappointed if the person he trusts cannot understand his heart," Zahid said.

malaysiakini.com

2. "He (Najib) celebrates differences of opinion, but recognises that any differences should be spoken directly to him and not openly, especially in public."

Zahid said that Najib being educated abroad, was exposed to a different culture which promoted internal discussion between Cabinet members than a public one.

“He (Najib) is a very kind-hearted man. Although he celebrates differences of opinion, I think he recognised one thing, that any differences should be spoken directly to him and not openly, especially in public,” he said.

He also told NST that Cabinet responsibility was a collective decision and there needed to be oneness in voicing decisions made by the Cabinet.

Cabinet members are subjected to secrecy and any differences in opinion during discussions in the Cabinet should not be made known to the public. So when the Cabinet decides (on something) we have to follow the decision and I reckon the PM needs this kind of support. Any Prime Minister, for that matter, demands oneness, one voice… togetherness in any decision, especially in following through with what is decided by the Cabinet members," Zahid explained.

therakyatpost.com

3. "How can a country have three different (education) systems based on race and religion with no meeting point? We must have national education that crosses the barriers of race, religion and ethnicity."

Image via ARTlifeCULTURE

Malaysia can achieve racial harmony if the country adopts a single-stream “national” education system and puts an end to vernacular schools, newly-appointed deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told an interview with Berita Harian.

“What is happening now, we must look at the country’s education system that exists in various mediums until there is no meeting point. How can a country have three different systems based on race and religion with no meeting point. We must have national education that crosses the barriers of race, religion and ethnicity,” Zahid was quoted by the Malay-language daily.

He added that while racial unity was already implicitly and explicitly taught in public schools, it was still important to have an education system that reflects that same unity and "close to the people's conscience".

themalaymailonline.com

4. In a reminder to UMNO members, he said, "Don’t be instigators and backbiters. Do not promote 'satay' politics and worse, fan animosity."

Image via Bernama

He said Umno members should emulate the spirit and principles of the party’s deputy president, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to continue with the party’s struggle even if dropped from the cabinet.

But don’t be instigators and backbiters, do not promote ‘satay’ politics and worse fan animosity,” he said when officiating at the Kepong Division Umno Wanita delegates meeting here today.

themalaymailonline.com

"There must be togetherness among the leadership (of Umno) at all levels, whether grassroots, division or national," he said in his speech at the Kepong Wanita Umno division annual general meeting today.

“Fighting spirit and determination is what we have in Umno," he told the crowd of about 250.

malaysiakini.com

5. Zahid warns of strict action against journalists who "spin" stories, saying, "Don’t ever spin. There will be a high price to pay. Don’t expect me to warn you. Expect me to take action. This is Zahid Hamidi, okay?

Image via The Star Online

"Not under my leadership; I am telling you this. Don’t expect me to warn, expect me to take action,” The Star quoted him saying at the Bayan Baru Umno annual general meeting in Penang yesterday.

malaysiakini.com

You must respect the ethics. You write based on facts. Don’t make interpretations and ever spin.Okay?” he said, in remarks quoted by Malaysian Insider.

“Umno and Barisan Nasional will never compromise with any spinning,” he said in English. He said he also had to speak in English because some journalists used English more than Malay and he wanted them to get his speech right, Malaysian Insider reported.

Don’t ever spin. I know who is spinning… there will be a high price to pay,” he said to applause from delegates. “I am telling you this. Don’t expect me to warn you. Expect me to take action… This is Zahid Hamidi, okay?

freemalaysiatoday.com

6. "1MDB didn’t use the government’s money or allocations," Zahid Hamidi said from the perspective of a person "involved in the banking sector". He also urged the public to respect ongoing 1MDB investigations and to stop speculating about Najib's bank accounts.

In an interview with Malay daily Berita Harian published today, the newly-appointed deputy prime minister explained from the perspective of a person “involved in the banking sector” that 1MDB has plenty of assets which enables it to remain solvent despite having loans from various banks.

“I’m confident that if forensic accounting is conducted, it will reveal their ability to make repayments based on the assets that are in 1MDB. 1MDB didn’t use the government’s money or allocations. A lot of the deals are between lender and borrower, so in this case, there will definitely be repayments and a payment schedule must be made,” Zahid was quoted as saying.

He added that 1MDB was still “bankable” but the issues surrounding the state-owned company rose out of the public’s lack of understanding about the company and its assets as well as "the opposition parties' games".

themalaymailonline.com

According to Zahid, everyone should respect the ongoing investigation procedures done by the Special Task Force.

“Thus, let the result of the investigation reveal the truth. Do not simply speculate,” stressed Ahmad Zahid in a press conference at Bukit Aman police headquarters here today.

therakyatpost.com

7. "There is no hidden agenda behind the appointment of PAC members to the Cabinet," adding that they were appointed because of their eligibility

“The consideration made by the prime minister (Najib Tun Razak) is that if anyone, regardless of his position, whether in the PAC or other bodies, including GLC (government-linked companies), if he is eligible to be in the cabinet lineup or made an administrative member, then do not see it as having a hidden agenda,” Zahid Hamidi said.

freemalaysiatoday.com

The appointment of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed and three members in the cabinet as announced last July 28 had no hidden agenda, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

He said they were appointed because of their eligibility.

“The consideration made by the prime minister (Datuk Seri Najib Razak) is that if anyone, regardless of his position, whether in the PAC or other bodies, including GLC (government-linked companies), if he is eligible to be in the cabinet lineup or made an administrative member, then do not see it as having a hidden agenda,” he said.

themalaymailonline.com

Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed and three PAC members were anointed into the cabinet during the reshuffle on 28 July.

8. "The Sarawak Report news is malicious and intended to create a negative perception of the prime minister," said in response to the whistleblower site claiming that former AG Abdul Gani Patail was sacked for allegedly drafting an arrest warrant for PM Najib Razak

Image via Sarawak Report

I officially deny the existence of such a document or any letter of authority from the Attorney-General's Chambers for the arrest and prosecution of the prime minister. The Sarawak Report news is malicious and intended to create a negative perception of the prime minister.

"The (new) Attorney-General has issued a denial. Denials have also been made by several other officials, that there is no such document," he told reporters after chairing a meeting of the Master Committee on Migrant Management in Sabah at Bukit Aman.

astroawani.com

“I leave this to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to take following action on SR that clearly has ulterior motives.

“Measures will also be taken by the Inspector-General of Police towards the publication,” he said in a press conference at Bukit Aman Police headquarters on 31 July.

therakyatpost.com

9. "At times like this, we should not abandon the ship when it has been hit by a wave," said to UMNO members about weathering the "seeds of hatred" sown by the opposition. He also urged them to maintain their support and loyalty to Najib, who is also UMNO president.

Image via UMNO Online

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has urged UMNO members to maintain their support for and loyalty to the leadership of Prime Minister and UMNO president Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

He said certain quarters, particularly the opposition, often tried to sow the seeds of hatred towards UMNO and the Barisan Nasional government.

"At times like this, we should not abandon the ship when it has been hit by a wave. We have to stay together. This is our pledge and commitment," he said.

astroawani.com

10. "The political disease today is one created based on slander from the end of one's fingers," referring to the use of social media to spread misinformation and lies. He added that laws can no longer be depended on to curb these issues.

Zahid said the "political disease" of today no longer originated from word of mouth but from the end of one's fingers. He said social media continued to spew untruth news to capture the audience's attention.

nst.com.my

"It is also coming from fingertips. Things that are not true are planned, and repeated many times to captivate the people," he said, citing the approach used by Hitler's propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels during the Nazi regime.

"Lies are repeated many times so the people will believe them. The problems and crises are not what they are, but inventions and slander from the mouth and fingertips," Zahid said, adding that the government cannot just rely on laws to curb such acts because the perpetrators could find ways around it.

"The political disease today is one created based on slander from the end of one's fingers. We can no longer depend on existing laws to address the issue," he added.

themalaysianinsider.com

11. "We (UMNO) have to do some self-criticism because we are lacking in using social media to win the minds of the people," adding that the opposition is taking advantage of social media to make UMNO appear "stupid, backward, and irrelavant"

Zahid said Barisan Nasional (BN) still relied on conventional ways to reach out to the people and fight with its rivals, compared with the opposition that was taking advantage of social media.

"The opposition monitors every word and action by Umno and other BN parties. They won't be looking for positive things but will find out faults or make up things to make us appear stupid, backward and irrelevant. That is why we lost seats in states and Parliament," he said when launching the Bayan Baru Umno division's delegates meeting at Hotel Equatorial Penang this morning.

The Umno vice-president and home minister said Umno has to embrace the wave of technological advances if it wants to survive in politics. Zahid said the party was dealing with Generation Y and Generation Z that will come later, which are generations that are familiar with smart gadgets and communication technology from a young age, and think differently from the old generation.

themalaysianinsider.com

12. Urging UMNO members to stop complacency and infighting on social media, he said, "Let’s not fight among ourselves. We must together fight the enemy.

Image via The Star Online

The Deputy Prime Minister said all UMNO members should get out of their comfort zones and adopt a more structured approach in facing these adversaries who were adept at using communication technology.

The Deputy Prime Minister said that complacency would prevent Umno members from mastering new technology in the field of communications.

Some among us have mastered the technology, but not to fight adversaries. We fight among themselves and try to topple our own friends. This culture must be checked at once; let’s not fight among ourselves. We must together fight the enemy,” he said.

therakyatpost.com

13. He also called on UMNO to go on the offensive against the opposition, saying, "The reality is that we are under attack and we (need to) defend ourselves. We have never attacked our political enemies. This is our weakness, Umno needs to take on a new approach."

“The latest problems are due to us getting involved in the opposition's spin of issues. Our failure is in responding to issues, and dwelling on the issues being played by the opposition. The reality is that we are under attack and we (need to) defend ourselves. We have never attacked our political enemies. This is our weakness, Umno needs to take on a new approach,” Mingguan Malaysia quoted him as saying in an interview published today.

They have many weaknesses too but they only expose our weaknesses, whereas we never expose the weaknesses of opposition parties. Perhaps we don’t have enough expertise in manipulating (issues) on the opposition’s weaknesses. This should be the approach emphasised by Umno and BN’s leadership,” he said.

malaysiakini.com

If you have not heard of Dato' Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi before he was elected deputy PM, here's a refresher of what he's been up to in the last two years: