De facto Law Minister Zaid Ibrahim has tendered his resignation over the government's use of the Internal Security Act, which allows detention without trial, against three individuals (Raja Petra Kamaruddin, Tan Hoon Cheng and Teresa Kok) last week.
Zaid, who is the former Kota Baru MP, was made a senator and named as minister in the Prime Minister's Department in charge of legal affairs during the cabinet reshuffle by premier Abdullah in March. His appointment was lauded by many quarters as it was seen as a gesture by the prime minister to put in place judicial reforms.
Zaid lamented, however, that the latest ISA arrests had dealt a blow to his six-month-long task of trying to regenerate the judiciary.The minister also conceded that his views on certain matters do not go down well with his cabinet colleagues.
Seen as a liberal in the party, Zaid has espouses his non-communal views in his book "In Good Faith". Critics sang praises for his views, "Zaid asserts that we should go beyond mere tolerating to embracing and celebrating our differences (“Pluralism and Democracy in Malaysia”). This is the only way for a plural society like Malaysia to survive and indeed thrive."
On justice, he said: “If we continue to put ourselves in reverse gear by departing from democratic principles, we will continue to fall behind other countries.” He added, “Democratic and civil values are not new novel concepts, alien to Malaysians! In fact, strong subscription to these values propelled us to where we are today.”
Zaid Ibrahim is probably the last Malaysian left in communal centric UMNO. His resignation, although may be seen as trivial to leaders of UMNO, is a great loss to the party. He may be the last drop in the reservoir of hope for a change in UMNO.
Selamat Hari Malaysia!