Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Zaid Ibrahim - Finally, a minister that walks the talk

Law Minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim (image) says he will stick to his decision to resign from the Cabinet after failing to convince the government to reform the judicial system. His resignation comes as his protest of the recent use of the Internal Security Act (ISA) on three individuals. [Malaysiakini, 16/9/08]

On September 12, the government invoked the Internal Security Act to detain three individuals for "threatening national security." While Raja Petra Kamaruddin and Teresa Kok are still in detention, Sin Chew Daily reporter Tan Hoon Cheng has been released after 16 hours and is now safely back in Penang.

For more details, read Even clowns give better excuses than Syed Hamid.

Home Affairs Minister, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar ordered was soon lambasted from both the public and within the Barisan Nasional ranks for the use of such draconian laws on civilians. He also claimed that such arrests under the ISA were necessary to maintain public order.

Law Minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim was the front man in the protest against the ISA and had openly called for the immediate release of Raja and Teresa Kok.

"This country has many laws which can be used by the authorities to detain any individual. They do not have to use the ISA," Zaid Ibrahim told reporters. [Malaysiakini, 14/9/08]
Zaid Ibrahim also told reporters that the recent arrests under the ISA has hampered his efforts to reform the country's judiciary system for the past 6 months.

Another member of the Cabinet also voiced his disgust over the abuse of the ISA. Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr. S. Subramaniam questioned the government's use of the ISA,
"We have adequate laws to supress any irresponsible acts that jeopardise national security. Why don't we use those laws?" [Malaysiakini, 14/9/08]
MCA President Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting also shared his two cents worth on the matter:
"If a matter is said to be threat to national security, we must first have evidences to prove it. Those who were detained under the ISA should be charged in a civil court under existing laws which are enough bring about justice. This is beacause the ISA itself has the potential to undermine the rule of law and the deny the basic constitutional freedom of individuals," Ong explained to the public. [Malaysiakini, 14/9/08]
Zaid Ibrahim showed that he meant business when he threatened to resign from his position as Law Minister unless the government reviews the Internal Security Act and releases the remaining two detainees. Unfortunately, his cry for justice went unheeded by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi and as a result Zaid Ibrahim decided to step down as Law Minister without any hesitation.

Badawi rejected Zaid Ibrahim's resignation and in return requested the latter to take a 2-week long leave from his job to take some time to "reflect". However, the Prime Minister did not succeed in convincing Zaid Ibrahim to regress on his decision to quit the Cabinet. He held a press conference on September 16 to explain the situation:
"I am not tired (referring to the suggestion from the Badawi for a 2-week break). I am just disappointed. Therefore, my decision stays and I will resign from my position as Law Minister." [Malaysiakini, 16/9/08]
Malaysians have yet to see if the other members of the Cabinet who protested against the use of the ISA would follow Zaid Ibrahim's footsteps by standing up for what is just and fair. Either way, Zaid Ibrahim did the right thing to disassociate himself from the corrupt acts of the government. He was also applauded by the Malaysian Bar Council and the Opposition for having the courage to make a stand against injustice and tyranny.

Therefore, it's now time for the other politicians to rise up and practise what they preach!


  1. shawn zaha said...

    it is time for anwar to STOP TAKING US FOR A RIDE!! release the names of the mps already!! for how much longer is he going to just tempt us with the idea of a free and just malaysia? all he has given is empty talk.

    umno now knows that the people aren't so stupid to fall for all their empty promises again. i think it's time anwar himself realized that the longer it takes for him to show some evidence of the prospective defections, the less the people are going to support him. his reputation has already taken a beating after the failed sept 16 takeover

    anwar...all style no substance?

  2. pravin said...

    There was an important issue highlighted by Zaid Ibrahim in NST 17th September 2008. "This country is rich with policies but nothing is implemented".

    He couldn't be more precise to the point. Every Malaysian has the right to the equal tender for government projects but are they given the equal opportunity when the tenders are considered. Every issue is made into a racial issue. Even if there is nothing to do with race. The inability of this present government to think outside the box to keep everyone happy will be their downfall. The public outrage for the use of ISA should be anticipated. Malaysia has changed a lot since Mahathir's first unethical use of ISA. And we should rightfully thank him for waking up Malaysians who do not realize the existence of such draconian laws.