Twitter, WhatsApp explode with anger after Anwar names ‘court cluster’ Zahid as DPM

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The announcement of Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as a deputy prime minister in Anwar Ibrahim’s administration has led to an explosion of anger and sarcasm on Malaysian social media, with Twitter and WhatsApp messages condemning the move to name the Umno president despite his multiple corruption charges.

Many immediately recalled an oft-repeated campaign slogan by Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders, equating a vote for any Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate to a vote for Zahid.

Mellya Azizi, who identified herself as a first-time voter, also ticked off PKR’s Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil for his attacks on BN’s Khairy Jamaluddin, a fierce critic of Zahid who lost the election after being fielded by the Umno president in PKR’s fort of Sungai Buloh. 

“Sorry YB, as a first-time voter and also someone who helped KJ in his campaign, I still cannot move on from this.

“You killed his potential from being our voice in Parliament and replaced (him) with Zahid,” she said in reply to an earlier tweet by Fahmi, “Undi KJ = Undi Zahid”.

Zahid is among a group of Umno leaders known as the court cluster who are facing scores of corruption charges.

The Umno chief, who is also the BN chairman, was instrumental in getting his coalition to support Anwar en bloc, despite strong objection from his MPs as well as senior Umno leaders to the move to ignore a resolution at the party’s assembly last year against forging any alliance with Anwar or DAP.

Zahid, who retained his Bagan Datuk seat with a razor thin majority against PKR’s Shamsul Iskandar Mat Akin, was also named as the rural and regional development minister.

“The ** Zahid Hamidi doing in the Cabinet. We are so **ed,” Ryanz said on Twitter.

ShariqHazard meanwhile tweeted that Zahid as deputy prime minister would mean a stronger PAS, the Perikatan Nasional (PN) partner which won the highest number of seats in the recent election.

Sofifa said the Cabinet line-up showed the importance of getting a simple majority in order to ensure a stable government. 

“The new Cabinet is basically just to satisfy many leaders from many parties. Zahid as DPM is a major red flag and will cause a backlash from the citizens.”

Arif Ridhauddin questioned PH’s pledge to fight corruption: “But it appointed Zahid as deputy prime minister. What a joke, man?!”

User Severus dan Lily meanwhile said sarcastically: “Zahid Hamidi, the anti-corruption icon. Congratulations to Anwar Ibrahim’s unity Cabinet.”

Another user said to Anwar’s staunch supporter, cartoonist Zunar: “Can you comment a bit on Zahid Hamidi becoming DPM? Order for something, received something else.”

“We thought of sending Zahid to prison. But he is sent to Putrajaya,” said Mohd Shahrul.

The bulk of dissatisfaction over Zahid’s inclusion stems from his court cases, where he is facing 35 charges of money laundering and criminal breach of trust involving millions of ringgit from Yayasan Akalbudi, as well as charges of accepting bribes for various projects during his tenure as the home minister under the previous BN government.

In September, he was acquitted of 40 charges related to bribes from a company to extend its foreign visa system contract.

Meanwhile, user @IniAlalalannn shared a poster spread by PH showing Zahid as the real power behind former leaders Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Muhyiddin Yassin.

“But voting for PH also results in Zahid as DPM,” he said in a Twitter post that had been shared more than 6,000 times as of press time.

PH supporter @HafizRayyan meanwhile took aim at Zahid’s daughter Nurul Hidayah Zahid, after she uploaded several Islamic prayers reading “Allahuakbar, Alhamdulillah, Subhanallah” on her Instagram. 

On WhatsApp, creative stickers, short videos and animated gifs made the rounds, one of which depicted Zahid letting out an evil laugh.

Another message making the rounds on the mobile app said taxpayers’ money would now be spent on escorting the new deputy prime minister to attend his corruption trial.

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