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Think thoroughly about stepping down: PM to Zaid

PUTRAJAYA, 16 Sept 2008: The government’s move to introduce law reforms in the country will definitely continue, whether the minister responsible for the reforms, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, is around or not, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said today.

"The government is not dependent on a single individual," the prime minister told a news conference at his office, after a meeting with the ministries’ secretaries-general.

Zaid, the minister in the prime minister’s department who is responsible for law, was reported to have submitted his resignation letter yesterday, a day after he had expressed unhappiness over the manner the government had used the Internal Security Act (ISA).

"The law reforms will definitely continue as usual, whether Zaid is around or not," the prime minister said when asked to comment on the repercussions on the law reforms which might follow.

Without revealing the contents of Zaid’s resignation letter, Abdullah said he had asked Zaid to think thoroughly on his intention to quit.

On 12 Sept, three people were detained under the ISA. They comprised DAP Member of Parliament (Seputeh) Teresa Kok, Malaysia Today portal editor Raja Petra Kamaruddin and Sin Chew Daily reporter Tan Hoon Cheng.

However, Tan was released a day later.

To a question that six Cabinet ministers were unhappy with the use of the ISA this time, Abdullah said they were merely not agreeable to the manner in which the act was used.

Moreover, he said, the ministers gave their opinions because in a democratic country, they were entitled to do so.

"This is what happens when they are given a chance to speak. Democracy is healthy," said Abdullah, adding that the ISA would continue to be used for public order and security in the country. – Bernama

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