Zaid: I need helpPosted: June 17, 2008
Well, this MAY not be the first time that a Minister, or someone from the government has asked the media and public for help, but it is definitely the first time for ME to read about something like that. And I’m smiling.
Zaid reaches out to media for law reforms
PUTRAJAYA, June 17 – De facto Law Minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim today reached to the Malaysian media to help the government educate the public on law reforms, justice and the legal system.
“When we try to effect reform, a lot of people won’t like it. They will try to find excuses. My position is very clear. You cannot use the law as an excuse to cover your inefficiencies.
“It’s important the public is aware why we do this. The law plays an important role in our lives. We need the media to develop articles which put forward the arguments for reform on a constant basis; not just reporting on what we do and propose but to analyse.
“I need support. I want the courts to be user-friendly. We want to reform the court system so people will think it is accessible, quick and efficient. This is the crux of reform,” Zaid said after attending a meeting at his ministry in Precinct 3 earlier this morning.
He offered up several possible topics, among them the subject of case postponements, why should court cases be postponed; alternative methods of settling disputes, such as pre-trial negotiations, plea bargaining and voluntary arbitration by experienced lawyers, which would save the court’s time; bail amounts, are they realistic? can they be lowered so those on remand can be kept out of overcrowded prisons and save taxpayers from the extra cost of feeding them; the difference between prerogative and accountability.
“I want you to bring it up regularly. You can be critical. You don’t have to praise me. I don’t even want that. I’m a public servant. If these things (discussions on reform) do not progress, you (go ahead) and attack me. (Say) ‘What kind of minister is this?’”
Full article here.
Now, I’d be lying if I said I’m not smiling. Heck, I’m even going to side with Zaid here and give him the benefit of the doubt. He has said the one thing that I’ve been saying so many times here on my blog that I’m beginning to think I’m a broken record. He’s saying that reporters and journalists and editors shouldn’t merely report on what the ministers do and say, but to analyse and come up with constructive criticism, to come up with bright new ideas.
He is basically telling the media to get involved.
Of course, with the laws like ISA, OSA, PPPA and a load of others, it’s still a landmine. We don’t know how far we can step across the boundary. We don’t know if he’ll really back us up if OTHER ministers start sacking people just because they didn’t toe the line.
But this is one heck of a proposal. He’s basically admitting that he can’t go this alone.
And he’s right. This is not HIS government. It is not HIS law reform. It is OURS. We want it, we take part in it. We want it, we get involved. We don’t sit by the sidelines waiting for other people to take the first step.
How are reporters and journalists going to respond to this invitation? Are they going to take the bull by the horns? Or are they going to shy away into the corner, make-believing that nothing ever happened?
Perhaps if anyone, ANYONE, reads this, I have a question I’d like to pose. What are they going to do with the backlog of ONE MILLION court cases? I believe 988 (the radio station) was just talking about this topic today, or yesterday. Someone called in to comment on this, saying that he has a court case that is still pending on an accident that happened when he was still in Form 5, and he’s 32 years old today.
The backlog of court cases is no small thing. That has to be taken care of immediately. Most definitely.