Reading between the lines, I have build my respect with this chap. The Prime Minister accepted his resignation yesterday.
Sayang seribu sayang. The cabinet lost a worker and UMNO will count-it-lost a top lieutenant. I am not surprised (and be watching) with his independent mind and outspokeness, PKR-DAP-PAS may one to approach him. My take is, it is probably the beginning of his career in the new government.
©The Star (Used by permission)
by Sim Leoi Leoi and Shaila Koshy
PUTRAJAYA: Datul Zaid Ibrahim said he was quitting from the Cabinet because he had “failed.”
He said he constantly met “a brick wall” from his Cabinet colleagues and party members on many of his suggestions for reform.
The former de facto Law Minister, who remains a Senator, also said he did not want problems arising from his proposals to plague Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi at a time when the latter had to grapple with party conflict and other challenges.
He had submitted his resignation letter to Abdullah on Monday. The Prime Minister at first did not accept his resignation and asked him to reconsider, but on Tuesday finally confirmed he had accepted Zaid’s resignation.
“Although I thanked the PM for his suggestion that I go on leave instead, I am not tired. I’m just disappointed.
“I pray that the PM will be able to overcome all the problems he is facing, and that he remains as Umno president and Prime Minister to accomplish what he has set out to do.
“I apologise to all Malaysians because of my weaknesses, I have failed,” he said in a 40-minute press conference at his office here on Tuesday.
Zaid was appointed Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department after the 12th general election in March as part of Abdullah’s efforts for reform.
“It has not been a mistake to take up the offer,” Zaid said.
Asked why he was giving up when he had bluntly told journalists in May that they should go on fighting for media freedom despite the obstacles of the past 20 years, he said:
“Maybe I’m not as courageous as you are. I agree change does take time but I was looking for some positive development to give me assurance.”
He however maintained Abdullah had been supportive“within his own constraints.”
Asked whether Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim -- if he formed a new government -- would be able to bring reform to the judiciary, Zaid replied: “He hasn’t formed the government. It doesn’t matter whether the Prime Minister is Abdullah, Datuk Seri Najib (Tun Razak), Tengku Razaleigh (Hamzah), (Tan Sri) Muyhiddin (Yassin) or Anwar. I don’t care; I just want to see transformation.”
Describing himself as a “man of deep responsibility”, Zaid lamented that in the six months he had been Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, he had “gone through a lot”, ranging from accusations of not standing up for his own race and religion to being criticised in Parliament.
Naming Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman as one of his critics, Zaid argued that Malays and Malaysians could only benefit from his proposals.
“You can still be a champion for your race and think of the country.”
“But I could not translate what I wanted to do, particularly on issues such as equal rights for everyone as stated in the Constitution. I think I have failed to convince those in authority and positions of power to effect those changes which will allow this Government to move forward.”
In his resignation letter to the Prime Minister, he had enumerated his frustrations in achieving the reforms he had been tasked with. The straw that broke his back was the arrest of three civilians under the Internal Security Act last Friday.
Asked whether the public should give up on Abdullah’s promise for judicial reform since Zaid -- the person specifically tasked with achieving it had resigned -- he replied:
“I don’t think everything should be pegged to me. I am not a hero. Someone else might be more acceptable.”
Asked whether he would now leave Umno for opposition party PKR, Zaid admitted he had not been “treated well” by Umno and was even suspended once on charges of money politics.
“Many of those who criticised me are from Umno. Sometimes, I feel that I should change, instead of them.
“I don’t know PKR well. It’s too early to say, I have an open mind. But I haven’t made any decision to join PKR or anybody else,” he said, adding that he had not been courted.
Asked whether he had advice for the Government, Zaid said it must start trusting its own people it if were to build “one country, one system.”
“If you can’t bring yourself to that level of trust, you will always worry which policy benefits which group. You can have race-based parties but you don’t have to be racist bigots,” he said on his last day in office
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