Zaid Ibrahim QUITS! But Pak Lah says no

UPDATE 2: Pak Lah wants Zaid to stay. Read HERE.

UPDATE: Zaid Ibrahim has walked his talk. He tendered his resignation letter today at 2pm. Malaysian Insider has confirmed this.


Original Posting:
Yesterday, Zaid Ibrahim was reported as saying that he is against the government using the ISA on the three people, namely RPK, Teresa Kok and Tan Hoon Cheng. According to my friend, he even appeared on the 8pm news yesterday, with about 5 minutes allocated to what he had to say. The StarOnline reports:

“I know I am breaking rank here … I am prepared to face the consequences. If I am told to resign, I will do so.

“I am not a trouble maker and I don’t want to cause any trouble for the Prime Minister, but I have my principles and will always be a vocal critic of the use of the ISA.

“In this latest episode, we (the Government) have generated an impression of selective prosecution since no action was taken against the person who allegedly uttered seditious remarks.

“We are saying that we are only acting against those who are disloyal to us.”

The Government needs to change and Cabinet members need to realise this — we have to be progressive.”

“I agree we have many issues and sensitivities to address but for me, racial disharmony is a seasonal thing in Malaysia. We must engage in open dialogues and discussions to resolve these issues,”

“If our court system is too slow, we must … make it more efficient by hiring more prosecutors, while the police must conduct proper investigation to acquire credible evidence,”

Of the very little that I know about Zaid Ibrahim, and what he has said so far in the BN government since March 2008, he has left an impression that he has one goal, and that is to reform the law and judiciary. He has left an impression on me that he is not another pak turut.

The things that he said yesterday will not go down well with his colleagues in UMNO, that’s for sure. Already, there were calls for him to resign, saying that he is “working for the opposition”. And the Cabinet had been shooting down his proposals to reform the judiciary.

The general sentiment is, the Cabinet must be united in one voice, and it doesn’t matter if that voice is wrong. Rank must never be broken.

And the first to voice his discontent over what Zaid said yesterday, is of course none other than the Home Minister himself. From Utusan Malaysia:

Penahanan tiga orang di bawah Akta Keselamatan Dalam Negeri (ISA) kelmarin adalah keputusan kerajaan dan ia tidak sepatutnya dipersoalkan oleh mana-mana menteri termasuk Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim.

(The arrest of the three persons under the ISA on Friday is the decision of the govenrment and shouldn’t be questioned by any minister, including Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim.)

Menurut beliau, tindakannya meluluskan penahanan di bawah ISA itu adalah bagi pihak kerajaan yang memerintah, selaras dengan kedudukannya sebagai menteri Kabinet, bukannya ‘orang di luar kerajaan’.

(According to him, his action of approving the arrest under the ISA was on behalf of the ruling government, and in line with his position as a Cabinet Minister, and not as ‘someone outside of the government’.)

“Zaid ada dalam Kabinet, jika dia ada pendapat yang tersendiri, dia seharusnya membawa kepada Perdana Menteri. Jika setiap ahli Kabinet yang ada pendirian sendiri berbahas secara terbuka dalam media, kita akan berdepan dengan krisis pemerintahan.

(“Zaid is in the Cabinet, if he has his own views, he should bring them to the Prime Minister. If every Cabinet member who have their views were to debate it openly in the media, we will be faced with a ruling crisis.)

“Kalau seorang ahli Kabinet melaksanakan tugasnya, yang lagi satu mengkritiknya secara terbuka, saya tak tahu ke mana kita dan saya tak tahu apa akan terjadi,”

(“If a member of Cabinet is doing his job, and another criticises him in the open, I don’t know where we are, and I don’t know what will happen”)

I am no politician. And I know zilch about governing, and what is the “right” way to do it. But as a member of civil society, I appreciate the fact that Zaid has stood up to make his views clear to us.

However, I’m slightly interested in this part of the Utusan Malaysia report:

Menurut beliau, tindakannya meluluskan penahanan di bawah ISA itu adalah bagi pihak kerajaan yang memerintah, selaras dengan kedudukannya sebagai menteri Kabinet, bukannya ‘orang di luar kerajaan’.

(According to him, his action of approving the arrest under the ISA was on behalf of the ruling government, and in line with his position as a Cabinet Minister, and not as ‘someone outside of the government’.)

Compare this to what he said the day before, reported by the StarOnline:

[T]he minister vehemently denied that he had anything to do with the arrests and detention of Tan and two others — Malaysia Today news portal editor Raja Petra Kamaruddin and Selangor senior executive councillor Teresa Kok — under the ISA on Friday.

“The police need not refer to me. It’s their discretion and their assessment of what happened…” – Syed Hamid Albar.

One the one hand, he said he had nothing to do with it and everything was done under police discretion, and on the other, Utusan reports that it was his decision to “approve” of the arrests. I don’t know if it is Utusan Malaysia’s fault in the discrepancy that is quite obvious here.

Compare also what he said when Tan was first arrested under the ISA ‘to ensure her safety’, and what he said when they released her (taken from Nat Tan):

“When they find what they wanted and realise that she is not a security threat and she is not disturbing public order, they release her immediately.”

At this point, Zaid Ibrahim’s points, which make a great deal of sense, don’t even matter much when taken in comparison with Syed Hamid Albar’s consistent inconsistencies.

Syed Hamid Albar has lost this battle, hands down. And he lost the battle all by himself.


9 Comments on “Zaid Ibrahim QUITS! But Pak Lah says no”

  1. basho says:

    A great piece of work – thank you. The upshot though is that this is yet another enormous gaffe by the government. Boy, they really like making mistakes over these past few weeks! – and should we complain? They might as well be party activists for PR! Even the UMNO bloggers (such as Bigdog) are so incensed that they are calling for open rebellion.

  2. Oldstock says:

    Hi Michelle,

    Syed Hamid’s inconsistency is proven once again. I read the Star’s report on what he said about not being involved in the arrests. Didn’t read the Utusan report that contradicted what he said earlier (because I stopped reading Utusan a long time ago).

    Good of you to spot this.

  3. cendana287 says:

    I’ve first known Zaid Ibrahim in 1993, when his company Ringgit Kreatif took over the management of the Kelantan football team (was a journalist then… Oops!telling something about myself here:-) )

    From then onwards, I was impressed by him. Previously, I had a very negative view. He was once the president of the Muslim Lawyers Association, and during the 1988 Tun Saleh Abbas tribunal, the papers made it as if Zaid and his association were fully behind Dr Mahathir. He has since clarifed it.

    In 2004, he won the Kota Bharu parliament; beating the incumbent Keadilan candidate. He’s also involved in charity work; helping the poor and the disabled. Me, I’m with Zaid all the way!

  4. Blog Surfer says:

    Thank you for thoughtfully providing the English translation of the Bahasa Melayu passages.

    This is really helpful for those readers of your blog who are not quite up to speed with their command of Bahasa Melayu.

    Best regards.
    No problem. And do leave your thoughts here if you wish so. I’d appreciate feedback. Cheers.

  5. KevinP says:

    Great piece. Mich, Baldy can say whatever he wants. ISA is under home ministry and if he is not the one to authorize, then? Rememeber his, its for her protection, she was not arrested… then now, not my directive, but its my approval… BLAH.. baldy is full of crap.

    Obviously with Zaid’s resignation it could be construed as two:

    1. Baldy won.
    2. BN is doomed.

    Whats your choice?
    I don’t think I have much of a choice, now do I?

  6. KevinP says:

    Err.. you can always think out of the box and offer me a 3rd choice… :).

    Anyway its the eve of 916… I sincerely believe nothing is going to happen but I hope for something to happen…
    Having thought about it, I think it’s BN’s loss. They simply don’t recognise good men and good will even when they smack them on the head!

    But then again, Zaid only tendered his resignation from being Minister in the PM’s Dept. He’s technically still an UMNO man.

    As for 916, I guess there’s only a “wait and see” now.

  7. KevinP says:

    Question: Will Zaid make a U-Turn? His departure is indeed a great blow to AAB as it would seem that the ultras and maniacs in the form of Botak has won… (in case PR cannot take over the government). In the case if PR can really do it, then Botak will need to ensure he has his passport in hand.
    I hope Zaid doesn’t U-Turn. If he does, I’ll be the first to be disappointed.

  8. bow says:

    Botak has a “MIND” of his own, nobody can ever be able to predict what can come out from his mouth in matter of important to national security, he can claim he ISA the reporter is for her protection, then turn around and say the police is the one has the authority to ISA anybody…bloody smart botak..

  9. Rakyat Jelata says:


    A successful professional, a men that held his principles, a men who insist on doing the right thing etc….

    I wonder how much longer Malaysian need to wait in order to have people like Zaid Ibrahim to run the country.

    I sincerely hope that Zaid would one day be our PM, but not through the corrupted UMNO.
    He should join Pakatan Rakyat and succeed DSAI as our future PM.

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