Umno's Zaid Ibrahim has urged voters in Hulu Kelang to support Mohamed Azmin Ali, in a sign of peace efforts with the Selangor Perikatan Nasional (PN) chairman whom he challenged for the PKR deputy president's post more than a decade ago.
Zaid, who has been stepping up his criticism of the current government despite initially throwing his support behind the alliance between Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Barisan Nasional (BN), described Azmin as a good administrator.
"Azmin Ali, to me, is someone who can administer. When he was the menteri besar of Selangor, I think he had much success," he said in a video message on Facebook.
The polls in Selangor will see a straight fight in Hulu Kelang between PN and PH, which has fielded Juwairiya Zulkifli, the political secretary of current Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari.
Azmin won the state seat in 1999 in his first foray into politics but has since represented Bukit Antarabangsa, another seat within the Ampang constituency.
The former PKR deputy president who played a vital role in the collapse of the PH government in 2020 is currently leading PN's charge in Selangor, seen as a frontline state in the showdown between PN and the PH-BN alliance.
Zaid said Azmin was defeated in Gombak at the last general election due to "a hysteria" that gripped politicians and voters at that time following the so-called Sheraton Move in 2020.
He said the constitution had allowed for such a move before its current ban on party hopping.
"But because of misunderstandings, because of hysteria, because of an epilepsy, everyone blamed the MPs who changed their support at the time, including Azmin," he said.
Zaid said even if PN failed to wrest Selangor at the coming polls, Azmin was needed as an effective opposition voice in the state.
The lawyer and former MP who once served as law minister before resigning in protest of the government's use of the Internal Security Act, returned to Umno last year after 14 years, a period which saw him joining PKR and DAP as well as forming his own political party.
Zaid said despite Selangor being the most developed state, there were still many who lived in poverty in places such as Taman Medan.
"Selangor must have balance. There must be balanced development between the corporate and non-corporate, between the rich and the poor.
"I want Selangor to be administered more fairly towards those with fewer opportunities.
"This is why the leaders in Selangor are important, and I think that Azmin Ali is one of the Malay leaders who can help us towards achieving that goal."