Quoting conversations from his lengthy political career, the much-anticipated memoir by former PKR deputy president Syed Husin Ali lends credence to suspicions surrounding once-PKR Youth chief Ezam Mohd Noor’s defection.
In a chapter dubbed ‘Ezam’s excuse for leaving the party’, the veteran politician shared that Ezam had told him a month before his resignation that he was “broke” and “ashamed” for having to “live off his wife”.
According to Syed Husin, Ezam (right) had on May 13, 2007 told him that he was then “jobless and without any source of income”.
“I no longer earn US$3,000 a month as a director of a company in Indonesia as the company has closed down,” he was quoted as saying by Syed Husin.
“I have to look for opportunities to be appointed director for one or two companies. I can only do this if I can prove that I have left the party.”
The revelation, which the writer said was “absolutely unexpected”, came after Syed Husin asked Ezam about rumours that the latter had submitted a resignation letter to the Selangor PKR secretary.
“Doctor, I am quitting. Azmin (Ali) is no longer my enemy, (PKR de facto leader) Anwar (Ibrahim) is. Trust that I will do anything to destroy him,” Ezam purportedly said.
Syed Husin said Ezam’s “forthrightness” came as a “big shock”, and that he had sent a note to Anwar regarding the conversation, shortly after which the promising youth wing leader quit the party.
Narrating his reactions during the conversation with the now BN senator, Syed Husin said that he wondered if Ezam had been “bought by Umno”.
“I remembered a letter sent to me by (activist) Hishammuddin Rais when he was behind bars,” he said, not mentioning the contents of the letter.
But while his matter-of-fact tone does not betray much about how he had felt over the incident, his views on Ezam indicate that the latter’s decision to quit had disappointed Syed Husin.
“I felt that Ezam had potential to play an important role in the party. It even crossed my mind that he could be promoted as a candidate for the deputy presidency,” he wrote.
‘Zul Noordin asked for RM60,000'
In a separate chapter, the memoir reveals how another former PKR man was said to have sought a cash payment from the party to quit his seat.
Kulim Bandar Baru parliamentarian Zulkifli Noordin, now Independent, was alleged to have asked for RM60,000 to vacate his seat in order to make way for Anwar to contest and get back into the Dewan Rakyat.
This was after Anwar’s ban from contesting elections, following his earlier conviction, was lifted on April 14, 2008.
“(Zulkifli’s) win was challenged by the Umno candidate who claimed that Zulkifli had not submitted his expenditure report.
“I was told Zulkifli (left) at first agreed to vacate his seat with the condition that he is paid by the party, word has it RM60,000, although I cannot ascertain the exact amount,” he wrote.
This, however, fell through as Umno withdrew their election petition against Zulkifli, leading to the latter changing his mind about vacating his seat.
Zulkifli had months later criticised Anwar and the party, including on his blog “which was given much airtime by Umno-owned media”. He was later sacked from PKR by the disciplinary committee.
Syed Husin said Zulkifli’s “slander” went into high gear later, “especially after he and another who had left the party, (Bayan Baru MP) Zahrain Mohd Hashim, were taken to the United States by the PM”.
“According to Zulkifli, they had discussions with the PM every night,” he wrote.
Anwar later contested in Permatang Pauh after his wife and party president Wan Azizah Wan Ismail stepped down to trigger a re-election.
“I know it wasn’t easy for Wan Azizah, as she liked being an MP. She often spoke about what had happened in Parliament in meetings,” he said.
Wan Azizah’s decision, Syed Husin said, was an example of the sacrifices she makes for her husband.