Zahid has denied the allegations and filed an application to strike out the suit. However, the Court of Appeal in March last year ordered him to enter his defence to the claim, which means that he will have to go through a trial before a decision is made as to whether or not the allegation is true.
Whatever the case, the fact is that the allegation remains. Whether it is true or not is yet to be determined by the courts. One cannot prejudge what the court will say after hearing out both sides at trial. If the court finds no basis to the complaint, then there is no problem and he can resume the post. But if it finds the allegation to be true, then it may be improper for him to lead the said Ministry now as other consequences may follow, such as pressure for action by the police for assault.
As such, leading the Home Ministry now, which is responsible for the police would to my mind, put Zahid in a position of conflict.
The Home Ministry is one of the most powerful Ministries, with significant influence over various bodies including the police and prisons. The Home Minister must always be seen to be one who is above and beyond these agencies as he needs to maintain independence in playing his role as a people’s representative and as Minister who is responsible for the police.
With the current trend of public complaints against the police, such as the failure of the new IGP to deal with rising crime and the rise of deaths in custody amongst others, the people have a right to an assurance that the Minister in charge of the police is free to act without fear or favour. This is difficult if there are allegations of assault pending against him which yet needs to be resolved.
The Prime Minister must now show us that he is serious about transformation. He has yesterday said that he will focus on upgrading the quality of governance. There is an allegation against a Minister of his which may well put him in a position of conflict. Will the Prime Minister remove him pending the outcome of the trial or will he resort to the same old indifferent attitude and silence proving yet again that he is incapable of the change he promises? — The Rocket
Gobind Singh Deo is a DAP CEC Member and the Member of Parliament for Puchong.