Zaid urges leaders to stop focusing on sensational issues

(The Star) – Leaders should stop focusing on sensational issues and instead work on bread-and-butter matters affecting the public, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim said.

He believes that many leaders prefer to speak on issues that have no value to the country.

“Somehow our leaders tend to focus on more sensational and emotional issues as it is easier to get people worked up,” he told The Star Online.

Zaid, the former de-facto law minister, said there were important issues especially related to the economy.

“These are the real problems of life but they don’t want to talk about these issues because they are dry,” he said.

In the recent weeks, issues such as the sex bloggers, a video of a woman celebrating Hari Raya with her dogs and of a group of Buddhists using a surau in Kota Tinggi have dominated the headlines, with politicians from both sides coming out with statements.

“If washing a dog is an offence, charge her. It’s a small matter. There will be endless problems if the whole country is going to be talking about what’s on YouTube,” he said, adding that the media sensationalised such issues as well.

He said people were less tolerant than before because of the Internet, where they could hear and see almost everything.

“The Internet does have good things that we like, but lots of things that we don’t like. It has generated a level of extreme positions from both Muslims and non-Muslims,” he said.

Zaid also said the Government never wants to make tough decisions that could make it unpopular. He cited the example of the implementation of the goods and services tax, which he believed was essential to the country’s financial stability.

“We have been postponing tough decisions for the last 30 years. That’s why we are a third world country trying to be a first (world country).

“We could have been richer than (South) Korea. In 1965, we were richer than Korea, today they are four times richer than us,” he said.

He also said the Opposition should help the Government instead of always critisicing it.

““The problem with this country is there is too much politicking,” said Zaid who joined PKR after quitting Umno.

Zaid, 62, who is a Kita member, said he was too old for politics now and would rather just say whatever he wanted to and therefore, did not plane to rejoin a mainstream political party.

“There is enough politics, enough politicians and enough parties out there,” he said.