PM Abdullah has appointed Zaid Ibrahim as one of 5 ministers in the PM’s Dept. That was a genuine surprise seeing how lawyer and former MP Zaid consistently goes against the grain in UMNO (which is one reason why he was dropped from contesting in Kota Baru). Here’s an excerpt from his recent book of collected essays and articles, In Good Faith. Titled 'Attributes of An Independent Judiciary,' it was first delivered at a dinner with law students at University of Malaya on 29 Jan 2007.
Dare we hope to see real change soon? Post-March 8, anything is possible.
Our judiciary is in dire straits. The assault on the judiciary of 1988 still rankles in our minds and psyche. The present government is still reluctant to acknowledge the problems the judiciary is facing. The government remains unwilling to seek forgiveness for the wrongs it committed against Tun Salleh Abbas and the other judges. It is still in denial mode by not addressing the need for a dynamic and independent judiciary, and resisting an overhaul of the existing system.
Any government would likely say that its judiciary is independent. But we know such an assertion may not always be true. We also understand that, if we want to live in a democracy and continue to have some freedom, then we must have a courageous and independent judiciary. If we want protection from abuse of power, then we must preserve the rule of law, and only an independent judiciary can assure us of this.