The governments can no longer say they subscribe to the rule of law and yet compromise on the issues of human rights.
Equally they cannot say they believe in the rule of law and yet practice arbitrary detention without regard for oversights and adequate review process.
It is the recognition of human rights that we then embrace the rule of law, the right to equality, right to fair trial, right to information and so on and so forth.
The governments should realise that human rights can no longer be "discounted as an inconvenient truth."
Today, it has the power to determine the outcome of elections.
What is it that the younger generation of this country so desperately wants? I believe they want justice and fairness. They want the institutions of governments to be credible, to reflect integrity, they want an independent judiciary where if all else fails them, the final bulwark of justice will step in to keep the powers-that-be on the straight and narrow.
They want space to voice their dissatisfaction; they want room to exercise their right to assemble, to expression, to livelihood, education, the right to know and be informed. They want transparent and accountable use of power by the authorities and they want a government that is corrupt free.
The government can no longer continue to be in denial mode or it will have to pay the "heavy price for holding on to this delusion."
Reform is the only choice.
I have been a minister for just about three months and in that time I have talked about various issues - the need to review legislation such as the Internal Security Act, judicial reform, granting wider public access to justice through legal aid, tackling the backlog of cases, the case for greater press freedoms.
Such talk has caused consternation to some elements within my own party, to the point that I am accused of espousing opposition policies, and thus I should resign.
While politicians will have to grapple with political correctness, human rights advocates are made of "sterner, stronger stuff" who should speak their mind.
Above are the speech made by Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, the minister in the Prime Minister's Department at a dinner function last night.
Source: Malaysiakini: Zaid: Both sides want me to resign