Zaid: I need help

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.

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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.


2 Comments on “Zaid: I need help”

  1. Wakmasnoor says:

    Hi Michelle. We meet again.

    I want to put aside the Zaid Ibrahim i personally knew and heard off; and go by this good ‘new’ ol’ Zaid to fully enjoy this meaningful and wise act of him, calling for the media to educate the public on the matter of LAW. YES. I do AGREE with him. The media should now play a more important role in advocating such matter and not just concentrating on those juicy political shenanigans that have been happening in such a quantum in our country.

    We cant depend on Zaid and the govt to make such lead and opening to further the REFORMS through it proper and due course. ITs the public that needs to take up the initiative, hoping that more can be achieved through this kind and timely gesture by the govt. And the public needs the media, as the tool to start the balls rolling.

    While we appreciate this sudden structuring and rehabilitation on law and judiciary by the govt, we too need to give the govt space and mobility, and injecting more common compassion sense working together between us (we and the govt). AGGRESSION bring us to NOWHERE. We had achieved this small token (reform) due to our persistence and silence efforts. Zaid is the living proof to that. And we can achieve more without the needs to take the issue or any issue for that matter, up into STREET PROTEST and by law of the jungle. We dont need to drag other suffering Rakyats who know nothing and gain nothing, through our failed agendas protesting on the streets putting their luck on to the confronted police (FRU) whom they themselves are merely just doing their job. When things went out of control (which usually did), we start blaming the police etc. The beginning of another new chapter, new reason and another new dark perspective on the Police force. The govt then shall be anything but doing the right thing.

    Michelle.
    I support the call to get the ISA detainees be put on trial in the court of Law. I support the call to manifest more transparencies and sensibilities on the part of the govt, governing more than 27mil M’sians. BUT i DO NOT support the WESTERNERS ways of doing and achieving THOSE. We are much better, tolerance and smarter than them. And im TOTALLY AGAINST the manipulations of the Rakyat time, sweat and blood for the gains of POLITICAL MILEAGE, POLITICAL SUPPORT AND POLITICAL POPULARITY BY CERTAIN INDIVIDUALS. This is totally UNFAIR and DISGUST. Period.

    Michelle.
    Sorry for taking up the space and your time. Im swaying far from the topic, i guess. Sorry for that too. Im proud to know you. And hope we can have another chance of fruitful and sensible discussion next time.

    Till then, wishing you my friend, all the best.

  2. su says:

    Wakmasnoor,

    No apology is needed. I leave my comment area open to whomever who chooses to leave anything here, so as we may have healthy discussions.

    I understand your distaste for public protests, rallies and the like. Perhaps because I feel somewhat the same way. But sometimes, especially recently, I have come to wonder if the people have really been manipulated, or are they sincerely wanting to show their protest?

    The govt does not have proper channels for the people to get directly involved. Or maybe they do, in which that it requires the people to fill in forms and hand them in, waiting in vain for anyone to answer to them. I don’t claim to know the procedures, but perhaps in this time, more open channels are needed to allow the people to ask their questions, and get the answers. Because we are not getting answers, we are frustrated. And frustrated people are not nice people.

    I don’t deny the fact that there are people who tend to mislead their supporters, hence why there are blind supporters. But we must believe that not everyone is like that. Street protests can be organised and fueled on for all the wrong reasons. But the people have to be significantly angered to start off with, or else they would not have joined those protest rallies.

    I always believe that politics and society walk hand-in-hand. If the politics of a nation is repressive, the society can only be repressed to a certain point before they blow. And a spectacular blow that would be too.

    That aside, this call by Zaid is not only towards judiciary reform. It could also be the first step towards media reform.

    Cheers, Wakmasnoor, and I welcome you back for more discussions on various issues.


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