On both counts, he makes Malaysia appear to be a cold and hard country where Muslims have no intention of dialogue, understanding and forgiveness.
In short, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's Global Movement of Moderates has no place at home.
Consider the issue of Christians using the word Allah to describe God. Putrajaya has made an appeal against a 2009 High Court ruling which will finally be heard next month.
The Roman Catholic Church has objected to the appeal, saying it was irrational and illogical as Najib's promise before the April 2011 Sarawak state elections explicitly allowed Catholics to use the word “Allah".
But Zahid today said non-Muslims must respect the rights of Muslims over the matter and there cannot be any compromise.
"They must respect. The use of the word Allah is exclusive to Muslims. Full stop," he said.
"All Muslims irrespective of their religious and political inclination must be united over the issue," he said.
Can a minister say all this before law courts decide on the matter? Does this mean the government will disregard a court ruling contrary to its stand? Why even bother having the courts in the first place?
Every time he opens his mouth, he disrespects every intelligent Malaysian, a group to which he does not belong.
The same with revoking the permanent residency status of a Singaporean who runs a resort in Johor because he allowed a group of Buddhists to meditate in a surau or prayer room.
Is that the minister's prerogative without getting all perspectives but immediately flexing his powers? Does he wonder what impact that action has on other investors thinking of coming to Malaysia?
Did the resort operator even commit an offence that is listed in the law? Or was his offence that of people taking offense to what happened in the resort?
Won't this scare off others from investing in Malaysia – where their permits can be withdrawn at slight hint of an offence? Where is the stability, the rule of law when governments decide on what is popular rather than what is rational?
Zahid might be a popular elected leader who believes the Home Minister must be one who is firm and acts without fear or favour.
But that's the job of the police and the courts, not the minister. His duty is one of judgment tempered with discretion and moderation, not of extremes and harshness. - August 17, 2013