What is patently wrong with our Judiciary: GO Back to Mahathir


April 14, 2012

What is patently wrong with our Judiciary: GO Back to Mahathir

by Mariam Mokhtar (04-13-12) @www.freemalaysiatoday.com

When someone lodges a complaint against crime and corruption but is subsequently ignored by a slew of authoritative bodies, including the courts, what else is a man to do? Take the law into his own hands?

The shoe-throwing Imam Hoslan Hussein (right) is being punished, for a third time, for trying to do his public duty.

Another shameful aspect about this incident is that his shoe-throwing has shocked a relatively docile and timid Malaysian public who are ignoring the reasons for his going to court.

In essence, the public are behaving just as badly as the judiciary. The judiciary just wants to silence Hoslan. The shoe-throwing has distracted us from the corruption he was trying to disclose in court.

If we were to understand his angst, then more of us might support him and his reasons for going to court, rather than voice support for throwing his shoe at the symbol of government, just because we, too, are frustrated with the authorities.

The Chief Judge of Malaya Zulkefli Ahmad Makinuddin (left) claimed that the dignity of the court would be redeemed only if a stiff custodial sentence were meted out on Hoslan for throwing his shoes at three Federal Court judges on February 22.

The court of public opinion disagrees with Zulkefli.Ever since former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad stripped the judiciary of its independence, our courts have been reduced to puppets dancing to the tune of their political masters. Will justice be available for anyone?

Zulkefli said that Hoslan will be able to reflect on his actions during his incarceration. Zulkefli might like to consider that if judges discharged their duties without fear or favour, the rakyat might trust and respect them.

Despite claims that he bore no grudges against Hoslan, Zulkefli’s harsh judgment just shows his vindictiveness. The Chief Judge must be aware that Hoslan is probably the breadwinner with a wife and seven children, as well as his aged parents to take care of.

More to the point, Zulkefli is treating the symptom and not the “disease” itself; the “disease” being the manner in which justice is dispensed, by a corrupted judiciary.

Hoslan’s experience is normal for any Malaysian going through the Malaysian legal system. It is an expensive, painful and long-drawn-out experience. The justice dispensed is laughable and an embarrassment for the country.

Zulkefli said that Hoslan had scandalised the court with his disorderly conduct: “A scurrilous attack on the presiding judges to show his frustration and disgust at the decision, which was unfavourable to him, is clearly an affront to the impartiality of the judges of the apex court and to the judiciary as an institution.”

Without fear or favour

Zulkefli should consider the views of the lawyer and MP, M Manogaran, on the frustration of litigants with the courts. Manogaran said, “What is wrong with judges granting or extending more time, after all he [Hoslan] was not represented. The court must dispense justice to the people, that is what the public expects them to do. Judges are tasked with dispensing justice without fear or favour.”

“Courts must not function as a corporate body in hurrying to dispose of justice. ‘Stop the monkeying’ on the bench. They are making a mockery of the justice system.”

Hoslan, the former imam at the Al-Rahimah Mosque in Kampung Pandan, had made numerous complaints about corruption and abuse of power at the Ar Rahimah mosque in Kampung Pandan. He approached the Police and the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC). Both ignored him. Instead, he was evicted from the mosque.

Mahathir also stripped the mosques of their independence. Under Mahathir, sermons rarely covered community issues but were vehicles for UMNO’s political messages. The captive Muslim audiences still dare not protest about these political sermons.

Hoslan’s problems probably started when he refused to read the stipulated khutbah (sermons) as required by the Federal Territory Islamic Affairs Council (MAIWP).

In the lead-up to Bersih 2.0 last year, the Friday sermon at his mosque advised the people not to attend the rally. Hoslan claims that when he heard this, he lifted his robe in protest, and showed the congregation his yellow Bersih T-shirt.

Hoslan claimed, too, that UMNO is allegedly manipulating MAIWP (Majlis Agama Islam Wilayah Persekutuan) behind the scenes, to have him removed.

He told an online news portal that one of the abuses he stumbled on was the alleged payment of a monthly fee by a renowned restaurant, to a mosque committee member who approved the restaurant’s use of land belonging to the mosque. The mosque committee did not receive any of this money.

When Hoslan was called up to the three judges in the Federal Court last month, he thought that his claims of corruption and abuse of funds would finally be heard.

Hoslan told a mainstream paper, “…I thought the least they could do was listen to my plea as this is my last lifeline to finally get out of this mess I was in.

“To my surprise, my appeal was rejected, just like that, without them reading it. I was really angry and disappointed.”

Anyone in Hoslan’s shoes would be livid. Instead of having his case heard, he was then accused of indiscipline and refusal to read from the stipulated sermon as required by MAIWP.

Ridiculous statements

When passing sentence on Hoslan, the Chief Judge of Malaya said, “Such a serious and deliberate attack has clearly undermined the dignity and authority of this court, which cannot and must not be condoned.”

The judges have undermined the dignity of the courts in many cases, such as MAS versus its former Chief Tajuddin Ramli, and Zambry Abdul Kadir vs Nizar Jamaluddin. The list goes on: the VK Lingam case, Sodomy I, Sodomy II, the Port Klang Free Trade Zone…

In the more recent Langkawi R&D Academy Sdn Bhd case, a Court of Appeal judge had called for witnesses to testify, then called off the hearing at the last minute. We have the ridiculous statement by a judge in the Altantuya case, that “….motive, although relevant, has never been essential to constitute murder.” (sic)

Malaysian courts are a joke. Judges preside over cases which they deliberately drag on for years and then, on the day of judgment, deliver a verdict of “acquittal and discharge” in a few minutes.

Malaysian judges have lost their sense of direction and the rakyat should support calls for Hoslan to be released and the judges to be dismissed.

Mariam Mokhtar is a FMT columnist.

 

 

 

41 thoughts on “What is patently wrong with our Judiciary: GO Back to Mahathir

  1. First of all , there is next to no “dignity & authority” that the Court claims to have.

    Secondly we know that Mahathir in 1988 interfered with the Judiciary and thus indirectly showing the public SERVANTS (by conduct) at all levels they can get away with literally murder. They have been since.

    Now that we have identified all this, what ARE we going to do about it M’sia?

    Everyone needs to answer for their actions. They shouldnt be allowed to get off.

    Without accountability and an independant Judiciary , there can be NO 1st world for Ms’ia. Being 1st world is not about lots of money ( *surprise, surprise*) it is about accountability, zero tolerant to corruption, the Rule of law, an independent Judiciary.

    But then havent we said all this before.

  2. If I may be allowed Dato’,
    MAY DAY for Justice and Malaysia

    May Day For Justice

    ——————————————————————————–
    The Background Behind Tun Salleh’s Book

    ——————————————————————————–
    The Removal of Tun Salleh Abas
    ——————————————————————————–

    Mahathir was continually upset with the Judiciary because the verdicts in a number of cases went against the Government. According to then Deputy PM, Datuk Musa Hitam, one of his favourite slogans was “Hang the Lawyers! Hang the Judges!” From 1987, he intensified his verbal attacks against the Judiciary in the news media, making damaging statements which clearly demonstrated that he did not understand the role of the Judiciary as being independent from the Executive and Legislative arms of Government. That the Judiciary exists as a check-and-balance against the excesses of the Executive appeared to have been a concept he never fully grasped. Instead, he accused judges of the sort of political interference that would result in confusion and loss of public confidence in the Government. Hence, to curtail the powers of the Judiciary and subsume it beneath the Executive became one of his cherished dreams.

    In April 1987, after an UMNO leadership contest in which Mahathir very nearly lost to Finance Minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, there were allegations that several delegates who had voted were drawn from branches not properly registered under the Societies Act 1966. An appeal was filed by eleven UMNO delegates to have the elections declared null and void. This was a very serious matter for Mahathir because if the appeal succeeded, fresh elections would have to be held and he might lose. The matter finally came before Justice Harun Hashim of KL High Court who ruled that under the existing law, he had no choice but to declare not just the elections invalid, but the whole of UMNO an unlawful society as well. The country and, more particularly, UMNO, went into a state of shock.

    In most modern democracies, a political catastrophe of this magnitude would have result in the immediate resignation of the party’s President and Prime Minister. But Mahathir did not resign. He informed the country that the Government would continue running the country. Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang and Tunku Abdul Rahman called for a vote in Parliament to establish Mahathir’s legitimacy but those calls were ignored. Mahathir then set in motion the machinery to form a new surrogate party called UMNO Baru. His opponents, however, wanted the old party revived. The eleven UMNO delegates then launched an appeal in the Supreme Court to have the 1987 elections alone declared illegal and the party not an unlawful society.

    Mahathir fully understood the danger to him of this pending appeal. He had to act quickly. In October 1987, he launched the notorious Operation Lalang in which at least 106 people were arrested and detained without trial under the ISA, including three very articulate critics, the Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang, political scientist Dr. Chandra Muzaffar and leading lawyer Karpal Singh. The official reason for the arrests was that a highly dangerous security situation had arisen but this has been strongly disputed as nothing more than a shameless fabrication. The broad sweep included even environmentalists and Consumer Association spokesmen. Four of the most outspoken newspapers -The Star, The Sunday Star, Watan and Sin Chew Jit Poh – had their publishing licences suspended. When, after five months, the papers were free to publish again, they were no longer the same.

    Mahathir’s next move was to push through Parliament far-reaching amendments to the Constitution so that the Executive gained in power enormously at the expense of the Judiciary. There was general indignation at this rude behaviour which shocked a good many people. The indecent haste and the fact that the amendments were made at a time when the Government’s main critics were in detention, including the Opposition Leader and six vocal MPs and outspoken newspapers demoralized added further to the appalling injustice of the situation. Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia’s beloved first Prime Minister, put it succinctly: “It was legal, but was it just?” Others noted angrily that the Constitution had been raped once again. In a speech, the outgoing President of the Bar Council, Param Cumaraswamy, said:

    “The Prime Ministe’s vile and contemptuous allegations, and the accusations levelled at the Judiciary and our judges left many shocked beyond belief. His speech which was full of venom, hate and spite with no substance whatsoever, illustrated his complete and total ignorance of the role of the Judiciary and the judicial process itself. He has indeed defiled and defaced the Constitution. It is surprising that those 142 MPs who voted in favour, after taking the oath that they would preserve, protect and defend the Constitution, had no compunction about destroying one of its basic structures.”

    One visiting parliamentarian was astonished at the lack of public debate. In his own country, he said, such amendments would have taken years.

    Next, after having curbed the independence of the Judiciary, Mahathir set about destroying its integrity. This was the removal of Tun Salleh Abas as Lord President in 1988, a move which Tunku Abdul Rahman described as “the most shocking story in modern legal and judicial history,”

    ——————————————————————————–

    Tun Salleh Abas was a man of humble origins – his father was a sailor and small village trader – who rose to become Lord President, the highest judge in the land and head of the Judiciary while remaining a deeply religious man.

    By March 1988, Mahathir’s scandalous and violent public attacks on the Judiciary had so provoked the judges that Tun Salleh was obliged to call a conference. Twenty judges met in the Supreme Court one week after the debilitating and shameful Constitutional amendments were made. By unanimous agreement, a letter was drafted to the King (also the Sultan of Johore) and copied to all Sultans, expressing disquiet over various comments made by the Prime Minister. The letter was delivered on 25 March and Tun Salleh left soon after for medical treatment in the United States followed by a pilgrimage to Mecca. He had a most important duty to perform upon his return: he fixed the hearing of the crucial UMNO Eleven appeal for June and, because of its overwhelming significance, decided that a full coram of nine Supreme Court judges should hear this. Three days later, Tun Salleh was suspended from his official capacity by the King on recommendation of the Prime Minister. In the same hour that he received the suspension letter, the Acting Lord President, Tan Sri Abdul Hamid took the UMNO Eleven case out of the calendar so that the link between the two was difficult to deny.

    Tun Salleh’s suspension came after he refused to bow to Mahathir’s pressure to either resign or retire, even though financial inducements were offered, including mention of a lucrative job in the International Development Bank in Jeddah. The initial reason given for the suspension was that the King had taken great displeasure over the letter Tun Salleh had written on behalf of all judges. According to official records prepared by the Attorney General, the King had requested Tun Salleh’s removal in an audience with the Prime Minister on the “Wednesday morning of 1 May 1988” after the weekly Cabinet Meeting.

    There are serious doubts as to whether this audience actually took place. The first of May 1988 fell on a Sunday, not Wednesday as the Attorney General recorded. Even if the day of week were corrected, there can be no Cabinet meeting on a Sunday. That the King expressed great displeasure only on 1 May, when he had in fact received the letter on 25 March cast further doubt over this assertion. It is difficult to believe that the King wanted Tun Salleh removed purely because he had protested about the public insults directed against the entire Judiciary by the head of the Executive. In any event, royal displeasure would not be a constitutionally valid ground for dismissal. Indeed, Mahathir advised the King as much in a letter written four days after this probably fictitious audience; however, the Prime Minister went further in the same letter to say that he would investigate Tun Salleh for any evidence of misbehaviour. In any event, the King did not clear up the mystery and, in an audience with Tun Salleh, actually asked the latter to step down without giving reasons although the Conference of Rulers had already asked for his reinstatement. Amazingly, Tun Salleh was suspended and a Tribunal set up to determine his fate before any formal charges were laid.

    The Constitution does not provide for the removal of a Lord President. While the Tribunal need not be an inappropriate means, its composition was to say the least, disgraceful. It was composed of six acting and retired judges, although the Constitution required an odd number to prevent deadlock. Of these -four from Malaysia, one from Sri Lanka and one from Singapore -only the Sri Lankan enjoyed a rank comparable to Tun Salleh’s. This was contrary to the very reasonable dictum that one should be tried by one’s peers rather than one’s juniors. The fact that two retired Lord Presidents of Malaysia were available but not invited was glaring. There were grave conflicts of interest with three of the Malaysian judges that should have disqualified them from sitting: Tan Sri Abdul Hamid who was next in line to succeed as Lord President and who had also participated in the conference of 20 judges which resulted in the letter to the King; Tan Sri Zahir who, being also the Speaker of the Lower House, was beholden to Mahathir, the principal complainant in the matter at hand; and Tan Sri Abdul Aziz who, although a former judge, was then a practising lawyer and, more incredibly, had two suits pending against him at that time. But Tun Salleh’s objections were ignored and when the Bar Council issued a statement calling for the Tribunal to be re-constituted, both the New Straits Times and The Star refused to publish it. Further, it was decided that the Tribunal would sit in closed sessions although Tun Salleh had requested a public hearing.

    The charges, when finally published, were manifestly absurd. Running over 12 sheets of paper, it was clear that quantity had been substituted where quality was lacking, and some of them actually related to Tun Salleh’s behaviour after suspension. Many of them related to his speeches and press interviews, whereby sinister meanings were imputed to various innocuous comments that he had made. To cite an instance, in a speech at the University of Malaya, he had said: “The role of the courts is very important to bring about public order. If there is no public order there will be chaos in this country and if there is chaos, no one can feel safe” On this basis, Tun Salleh was charged with making statements criticizing the Government which displayed prejudice and bias against the latter. Another statement of his, “In a democratic system, the courts play a prominent role as agent of stability but they can perform this function only if judges are trusted,” resulted in the charge that he had ridiculed the Government by imputing that it did not trust the judges. These charges were doubly ludicrous in the light of Mahathir’s many poisonous attacks against the Judiciary.

    It is not surprising that Tun Salleh, after reading this catalogue of fantasy crimes, refused to appear before what was so evidently a kangaroo court. The Tribunal, after refusing representations made by Raja Aziz, Tun Salleh’s leading counsel, that it had no constitutional validity to sit, chose instead to proceed so hastily that it wound up deliberations, including the examination of witnesses with just four hours work. As it prepared to issue its Report, Tun Salleh’s lawyers sought an urgent stay of proceedings in the High Court. This would normally be granted immediately at the least possibility that an injustice may be about to be done but, here, events turned into utter farce.

    Instead of immediately reaching a decision as expected, the presiding judge, Datuk Ajaib Singh, after the court had been in languorous session the whole day that Friday, adjourned hearings for 9.30 am the next day. On Saturday however, the judge emerged in court only at 11.50 am and, even then, postponed hearings again for the Monday! In desperation, Tun Salleh’s lawyers, knowing that the Tribunal could easily release its Report before then, sought the assistance of Supreme Court judge, Tan Sri Wan Suleiman, in his Chambers. The latter agreed to hear them in open court in half an hour’s time and called a coram of all remaining Supreme Court, one of whom, Tan Sri Hashim Yeop, refused to sit. The soap opera reached an apogee of ridiculousness when Tan Sri Abdul Hamid, head of the Tribunal and Acting Lord President, gave orders for the doors of Supreme Court to be locked and for the seal of the Supreme Court to be secreted away!

    Undeterred, the five Supreme Court judges ordered the policeman on duty to open the door forthwith. After less than half an hour, the Court ordered the Tribunal not to submit any recommendation, report or advice to the King. Tun Salleh’s lawyers were typing the Order to serve personally to the Tribunal at Parliament House when news arrived that the gates of Parliament House had been locked! At this point, Justice Wan Suleiman rose to the occasion and, calling the office of the Inspector General of Police, told a senior officer that any impediment to serving the Order would constitute contempt of court. The gates of Parliament swung open and, at 4 pm, Raja Aziz and his team served the Order to the Tribunal members who were found to be still hard at work on a word-processor that Saturday afternoon. All six members accepted service without complaint.

    It would appear that justice had at last prevailed but, four days later, all five Supreme Court judges were suspended. Almost every rule that was broken to suspend Tun Salleh was broken again to suspend them. The prohibition order they had made were revoked within days. A second Tribunal eventually reinstated three of the judge: Tan Sri Azmi Kamaruddin, Tan Sri Eusoff Abdoolcader and Tan Sri Wan Hamzah but Tan Sri Wan Suleiman and Datuk George Edward Seah were removed from office.

    The UMNO Eleven case was quickly dismissed. The removal of Tun Salleh also saw the resignation of Deputy PM Datuk Musa Hitam who, according to popular wisdom, could no longer stomach Mahathir’s ways.

    Back to HAKIM RAKYAT

  3. All things have a price in Bolehland….Salleh Abbas was “compensated’ by Zaid Ibrahim then law minister with RM5million for the sacking, and lesser amounts for the sacked tribunal members. Hence their eerie silence and closure !! Money money money ..UMNO knows best !!!

  4. What ‘dignity’ is the CJ talking about? The Judiciary and the judges never had any dignity to speak of. They abdicated their dignity, conscience, independence and morality a long time ago.

    If shoe throwing is an afront to their so-called “dignit”y then, may I ask the CJ, if urinating on their graves is also tantamount to an affront to their dignity?

  5. The Chief Justice was just trying to prove that he has power. Why didn’t the panel hearing Hoslan case cite him for contempt right on the spot when the shoe throwing incident happened? Does the panel have to consult with others before arriving at a decision? Imagine 3 top judges in Malaysia sitting as a panel don’t have the guts to cite a person for contempt of court when the incident happened.
    The sentence passed on Hoslan is very severe seeing that his fault was just throwing his shoes and not slandering or making allegations against the panel of judges. The sentence is also considered severe since Hoslan is a nobody while VIP’s committing contempt of court have been just given a slap on the wrist. The law is Malaysia is not fair and not consistent.

  6. Hey! we do still have hope ! One thing first is pray to change our government . With a new government get rid of the judiciary with house cleansing…all of them . Remake a new line of clean and impartial judges who are worthy to wear that wig! Dont ever let those judges who made tainted judgements GO free …Let them know that they will be hunted like running dogs.No pensions and glory for them for they must suffer the same fate of Tun Salleh.No more one main race dominating as judges as most of them [truth be told here] are of mediocre standards.All those top judges are in name only a crying shame for malaysians!

  7. Kat, Salleh Abas was compensented for his untimely dismissal and that’s a fact. Zaid Ibrahim made it happened. Good on him.

  8. Oh I think I rememebr that Zaid instigated the compensation. There was nothing untoward. Yes thats right Tok Cik.

    May Day For Justice

    ——————————————————————————–
    by Tun Mohamed Salleh Abas, Former Lord President, Supreme Court of Malaysia, with K Das

    ——————————————————————————–
    Is The Malaysian Judiciary Independent?
    ——————————————————————————–

    It has been seriously suggested that the Judiciary in Malaysia was never truly independent, that it has always tended to favour the Executive when any case was in doubt. It has been attacked in the belief that judges tend to act as if they believe in the supremacy of Parliament rather than the supremacy of the Constitution. There is also the theory that because most of our judges rise from the civil service rather than the private sector force of habit and weight of experience make them more Executive-minded and Executive-oriented than the Executive itself.

    There may be elements of truth in all these thoughts, but we must look beyond those theories, guesses and allegations. Part truths must not be sanctified by carelessly embracing them.

    Independence is not license; it is not total freedom. It is only a state of being free from unreasonable interference.

    The fact is that we are the product of a very recent political culture which has suddenly descended upon our environment and burgeoned in the past 50 years or so. At the same time, many of us were educated in the system of law created and bred in another environment besides our own, and we have yet to come to grips with the problem of transplanting that alien legal culture onto a very different political soil.

    And thus the judicial independence we value is a concept that is not even understood by the majority of our legislators, let alone the ordinary farmer or the man in the city street. To most people the services of an independent judiciary was something they enjoyed without appreciating that it is not a cheap commodity and that it is not self-sustaining.

    The job at hand, one may say, is like planting apple trees in our soil which supports bananas and durians very well. But the fact is that we like apples, as we do dates from Arabia and mandarins from China. Fruits like these will take time to adapt, and if we must have apples in plenty, we have to labour very hard indeed to develop a healthy variety which can thrive in our bright sunshine and heavy rains. It means serious study and research, determination and persistence, and the faith perhaps that an apple a day does indeed keep the doctor away.

    If judges sometimes err it is not because the system we have adopted is a bad one. They err because they are human. We should not be surprised.

    It has been argued that we, as a people, are very different from those who developed the legal system we have accepted, and that therefore it may not be suitable for us, and that we should consider jettisoning it. That is a crude and superficial view.

    We can no more discard it than Muslims in China can discard Islamic values in China or the Balinese can discard Hindu values in Indonesia simply because the ideas originated outside their countries. A system of thought does not suddenly lose its value because of a sudden realisation that it originated outside our own backyards.

    Legal systems everywhere have much in common. The institutions may look different and the methodology and procedure may be different in detail, but the essence is the same. We have only adapted English laws to suit us. Some of the changes we have made will stay, some might change, and in time a new system may evolve. And it must be allowed to evolve.

    In the meantime we cannot discard altogether what we already have. Since the aim is to do justice – not merely appear to do justice – the machinery, as we have it now, must be maintained and its parts modified only very slowly. If there are problems, we have to solve them rather than discard the machine or even change it so rapidly as to cause its destruction. Emotional and political arguments about things being “alien” or “Western” will do nothing to further the aims of doing justice. Changes should aim only at doing justice better.

    The principle of the Independence of the Judiciary however should not be tampered with. It is not a matter of it being an imported concept to be dismissed as unsuitable for us. Judicial independence is not a Western invention. It is a universal concept, to be nurtured and nourished if we are to live as free men and women. The fact that some of our institutions follow British models is no excuse for discarding the philosophy they enshrine. We may modify the architecture of a library and the lending system without throwing out the books as well.

    We can certainly say that recently our judges showed that they were not as independent in their actions as they might have been, but that is really to say very little. Judicial independence is not a formula to be applied like formulas in mathematics or chemistry. I think that a number of our judges did fail us badly in the calamity which has overtaken us, but I do not believe that the human spirit is so weak as to be cowed for ever by one woeful episode in our history inspired by one set of moral and authoritarian rulers who happened to be in power.

    It is very true that a number of our judges showed weakness of spirit. They have to answer for their sins in their own way. It does not mean our judges as a community lost their aspiration to do justice at all times. Accidents of history have made unjust men judges in the same way thieves and poachers have sometimes attained the positions of watchmen and game wardens. It is no secret that our banking and commercial systems have been found to be riddled with thieves. It is no reason to despair.

    Ultimately the Independence of the Judiciary depends upon two things: first, the faith and trust the citizen has in Judges, and secondly in the moral and intellectual calibre of the Judges themselves. As the great American Supreme Court Judge, William 0. Douglas said in a speech in 1954:

    “The Judiciary has no army or police force to execute its mandate to compel obedience to its decrees. It has no control over the purse-strings of government. Those two historical sources of power rest in other hands. The strength of the Judiciary is in the command it has over the hearts and minds of men. That respect and prestige are the product of innumerable judgements and decrees, a mosaic built up from a multitude of cases decided. Respect and prestige do not grow suddenly; they are the products of time and experience. But they flourish when judges are independent and courageous.”

    Put another way, judicial independence calls for good men as judges but that independence is unlikely to flourish if the society itself does not show faith and trust in its judges.

  9. judiciary thinks dignity is given because of position. get real, you all have to earn it. who gives a damn about judiciary dignity if it continues to dispense baffling judgement. Remember Perak Pustch? So, Article 72 sill stands, Diginity-Sought-For Judiciary?

  10. To tell the truth to a person commissioned to rule is faithful allegiance. To conceal it is treason. – Saiyidina Abu Bakar.

  11. My observation is that most of those who sit on the Bench are men of religion. I hope that they will use their commitment to religion to improve the governance of our Courts.

  12. Forgive me Dato’ , however it is I feel of utmost important that our people understand what happened to the Judiciary. For this we must read what Tun Salleh writoe , a legal giant ,who was unjustly removed by a small man who was in fear and played politics and destroyed our nation. May this serve as a reminder as to why it must never happen again.

    May Day For Justice

    ——————————————————————————–
    by Tun Mohamed Salleh Abas, Former Lord President, Supreme Court of Malaysia, with K Das

    ——————————————————————————–
    INDEPENDENCE
    ——————————————————————————–

    No man can be just who is not free. — President Woodrow Wilson. Speech in July 1912.

    This book is concerned, ultimately, with freedom.

    It was written because judges in Malaysia have been deprived of their independence. And without an independent judiciary in place, all our freedoms are in jeopardy.

    Freedom, of course, means more than mere independence. It implies the absolute power of self-determination, and men everywhere aim at achieving as much of this freedom as possible in their lives. This “possible” may never approximate the ideal, but the ideal nevertheless remains. It will always remain so, as much as man’s quests for other seemingly unattainable ideals like truth and justice will also remain.

    As for our judges, they did not seek or expect to achieve any unbridled “freedom” to exercise their powers. They only wanted, and expected, to enjoy a certain independence to function – to perform their duties without fear or favour, without interference by the Executive or anybody else. They were content to live their lives chained, as it were, and limited, by the bonds of the Constitution. Within those confines they found their sufficient independence to live and work in dignity, peace and comfort.

    The Constitution of Malaysia guaranteed that independence, that limited freedom from interference, and judges took it for granted that they were secure in that guarantee. They had, after all, enjoyed this independence, despite its sometimes irritating curbs, for a long time.

    But that vital part of the Constitution which gave and guaranteed that Independence has now been tampered with.

    Historically the Malayan, and later, the Malaysian, Judiciary grew out of the British system which thrived here in colonial times. British judges in this country in pre-war days and in the post-war years functioned like judges in Britain, without fear of being interfered with or being abused in any way, even though their tenure of office was less secure, being subject to the pleasure of the Crown.

    There was the case of Mr. Justice Edward Terrel, who was Acting Chief Justice of the former Federated Malay States. It was not really a case of “removal.” Mr. Justice Terrel lost office when Malaya was overrun and occupied by the Japanese in the last World War. At the time he was on leave in Australia. His suit against the British Government for damages failed because the tenure of office of colonial judges was not dependent upon good behaviour but during pleasure of the Crown.

    That was a unique case. It was the Colonial Office in action, not the British Government in its Imperial Majesty. It was not an aberration but an extraordinary exception because of the War. It was not the rule.

    The judges as a community in British Malaya, then, remained independent and secure.

    This happy condition obtained after Independence as well when many Malayans were elevated to high places on the Bench. When the government lost a case in court there was never any attempt to browbeat the Judiciary.

    For instance, in the celebrated case involving the then Education Minister, in Abdul Rahman Talib v. Seenivasagam & Another in 1965, when the Minister lost a libel suit he filed against an Opposition Member of Parliament, he felt obliged to resign. The then Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman did not agree with the judgement of the court and he wrote to Encik Abdul Rahman Talib, saying “I [am] convinced of your innocence.” What Tunku Abdul Rahman actually thought of the case or said about it in a private letter is not relevant, but there was no question of his interfering in any way with the courts or the judgement delivered by the Courts. The judgement itself stood inviolate.

    For almost thirty years after Merdeka Day, which fell on 31 August, 1957, the Judiciary was treated with all the respect due to it even if the Government had occasion to be disappointed with the outcome of some cases.

    An outstanding example was the case of Teh Cheng Poh v. Public Prosecutor in 1979 when Datuk (now Tun) Hussein Onn was Prime Minister. A man was sentenced to death for unlawful possession of firearms after a trial conducted in accordance with the Essential (Security Cases) (Amendment) Regulations 1975.

    When the Privy Council overturned the then Federal Court decision on the matter, the Executive took what many legal luminaries regarded as drastic and regressive action. It was no joy to many that the law was changed or that (coincidentally) Privy Council appeals were abolished not long after, but the Executive action was well within its legal rights. There were debates about the ethics and morality of changing the law in the way Independence it was changed, and the Government was criticised severely both inside as well as outside Parliament for it, but the courts and the judges again remained unscathed. They were certainly not blamed. They remained independent.

    The Judiciary therefore continued to function as it was meant to, applying the law, interpreting the law and dispensing justice without fear or favour. And it continued to do so until now. Those who lost cases complained, as they have always done, and will no doubt continue to do, but few doubted that justice was being done fairly. In fact there was a growing feeling that the judges were becoming visibly more independent – and unafraid to do justice according to the law. That was important: the clear public perception that justice was being done.

    The first important signs of a change in the climate with respect to this independence came late in 1986 when the Supreme Court handed down a decision in the case of John Berthelsen of the Asian Wall Street Journal.

    On 26 September, 1986, the Home Ministry had suspended the publication of the Asian Wall Street Journal and served a 48-hour expulsion order on one of its reporters, John Berthelsen. Another reporter from the same paper, Raphael “Rocky” Pura (then away in Hong Kong) was instructed to report to the Immigration Department upon his return to Kuala Lumpur, and was also served the order.

    On the following day, 27 September 1986 the expulsion order on John Berthelsen was varied by the High Court from 48 hours to five days. The Asian Wall Street Journal challenged the Government’s action in court.

    The Supreme Court (coram made up of Supreme Court Judge Tan Sri Wan Suleiman Pawan Teh, Supreme Court Judge Tan Sri Eusoffe Abdoolcader and myself) ruled on 3 November that the suspension of the Asian Wall Street Journal and the expulsion of the journalists were wrong. The paper resumed publication and the expulsion orders were quashed.

    Soon after this episode came the first public attack on the Judiciary.

    In an interview with Time magazine, published in the issue dated 24 November, 1986, the Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad expressed himself very strongly in an interview headlined I Know How The People Feel:

    “.. The judiciary says [to us], ‘Although you passed a law with a certain thing in mind, we think your mind is wrong, and we want to give our interpretation.’ If we disagree, the courts will say, ‘We will interpret your disagreement.’ If we go along, we are going to lose our power of legislation. We know exactly what we want to do, but once we do it, it is interpreted in a different way, and we have no means to reinterpret it our way. If we find out that a court always throws us out on its own interpretation, if it interprets contrary to why we made the law, then we will have to find a way of producing a law that will have to be interpreted according to our wish.”

    Because of these remarks, Dr. Mahathir was taken to court by the Leader of the Opposition, Encik Lim Kit Siang, for alleged contempt of Court. The High Court cleared him of the charge. Encik Lim then took the case to the Supreme Court, which also cleared the Prime Minister of the charge. In his judgement the High Court Judge, Justice Datuk Harun Hashim made certain remarks and they were reported in The Star of 29 November, 1986, under the headline, Mahathir’s Dilemma. The judge had dismissed the application, because, he said, the remarks “viewed objectively and as a whole, reflected a complaint against Parliament for passing laws full of loopholes.” Justice Datuk Harun Hashim then commented:

    “I think the Prime Minister’s dilemma can be resolved simply – .f the Government is not happy with a decision of the court, then the answer is to ask Parliament to make better laws or ensure that more adequate provisions are included.”

    The Prime Minister, it seems, found these remarks quite unpalatable.

    Was Datuk Harun in fact exceeding his role as a judge?

    I think not.

    For a judge does not merely decide on the merits of a case but is entitled to explain himself. From time immemorial, in every culture, judges have been teachers as well as adjudicators. A judge should, when he thinks fit, comment on the issues at hand. Perhaps I should quote a very well-known, modern authority on the subject.

    “Those who comment [reporters, lawyers, members of the public, politicians, etc.] can deal faithfully with all that is done in a court of justice. They can say we are mistaken, and our decisions erroneous, whether they are subject to appeal or not. All we would ask is that those who criticise us will remember that, from the nature of our office, we cannot reply to their criticisms. We cannot enter into public controversy, still less into political controversy. We must rely on our conduct itself to be its own vindication.

    “Exposed as we are to the winds of criticism, nothing which is said by this person or that, nothing which is written by this person or that, will deter us from doing what we believe is fair., nor, I would add, from saying what the occasion requires, provided that it impertinent to the matter in hand. ”

    The speaker was none other than that famous English judge, Lord Alfred Denning, delivering a judgement in a contempt case, ex parts Blackburn, in 1968. 1 think he spelt out the limits imposed upon us by the norms of civilised behaviour as well as the rights and duties of judges to say what occasion demanded. And as for what is pertinent to the matter at hand, that of course, cannot be decided by any statute law or administrative instruction. We may also note carefully here that Lord Denning made it clear that judges are not above criticism. He only asked that critics realise that judges cannot react to their criticisms or enter into controversy.

    Be that as it may, given the different cultural norms we are subject to as Asians, 1 did suggest to Datuk Harun that perhaps he should not be so garrulous in his remarks from the Bench. Of course 1 did not say that he was not entitled to say what was pertinent to the issues he was dealing with.

    I must correct here the rather shallow and impertinent view expressed recently that judges must not make these comments.

    Doing justice is not a narrow matter of “going by the book”. The judge must do more than hold the scales with a steady hand and speak with a frozen heart. He must explain, expound and inform. Judges are chosen for much more than just their legal scholarship. Indeed it is axiomatic that they are chosen because of their wisdom. There must be compassion, generosity of heart, wit and wisdom as well as deep learning. In short they must have a wide-ranging knowledge and understanding of the way of the world. So every good judgement must serve as a lesson not only to the litigants concerned but to society as a whole. If the wrong person is selected as a judge – and I fear that it does happen – it is no reflection on the ideals of what a good judge should be and do.

    Now, unlike Prime Ministers in the past who may have privately disagreed with certain judgements, Dr. Mahathir went public with his disappointments and attacked the judges for what he clearly thought was behaviour exceeding their roles.

    I am not suggesting – and I have never suggested it, despite some hoary arguments that were to surface shortly – that judges are beyond criticism. What human being is?

    But it is one thing to criticise a Judgement and quite another to condemn a judge for trying to do his onerous job as well as he can.

    The Prime Minister, however, made it very apparent by the range and scope of his criticisms that he believed that judges could not, and indeed should not, act independently. Judges had to interpret the laws, as he put it to Time magazine, “according to our wish.” Independence of thinking was not an idea he associated with judges.

    It also became very evident, slowly but surely, that Dr. Mahathir simply could not understand or appreciate what the concept of “independence” was, as far as the judiciary was concerned, and thus the vital importance of the concept of the “separation of powers.” This concept, of course, is basic to a democratic form of Government. The Prime Minister seemed to think that judges were little more than some irritating appendages to the Executive.

    The powers, of course, are separated for a very fundamental, not to say compelling, reason: to dilute power and make certain that no one can act arbitrarily against the citizen. It is the most exquisite rationale against despotism. One might say it is the answer to absolutism – whether it be royal absolutism or republican.

    As a lawyer and a judge I was always concerned with the problem of the general public understanding this clearly. For the public must know its full import in a democratic system if democracy itself is to mean anything or survive.

    So it was that as early as March 1984, just one month after I was appointed Lord President 1 wrote on this subject for the Third International Conference of Appellate Judges and the Conference of Commonwealth Chief Justices held in New Delhi. I then said, inter alia:

    “The Judiciary accepts the laws passed by Parliament as valid and will not impugn them unless they are clearly against the provisions of the written Constitution.

    “Similarly, the Judiciary will not strike down an Executive action unless it is not supported by law and the Constitution. Thus, the Judiciary’s relationship with the Executive is one of mutual respect for each other’s existence and responsibilities, subject only to one rider in that as a guardian of liberty it has jurisdiction to examine an Executive action to see if it is within the law and, if necessary, to pronounce a decision against such action, however unpleasant that task may be.

    “Mutual respect implies a self-restraint and tolerance in each other’s sphere of activities. If this respect is in any way impaired, the result could be disastrous to the country, especially to the Judiciary when its support-service, such as staff and finance is dependent upon the goodwill of the Executive.

    “Denial of this support is enough to make the Judiciary ineffective and render the cherished doctrine of independence of the Judiciary a mere meaningless slogan. But if the moral authority of the Judiciary is held in high esteem by the people, that would strengthen the position of the Judiciary and would constitute a definite check against improper acts by the Executive , as the voters may well cast their verdict against the Government at the next general election.

    “Thus, the relationship of the Judiciary with the Executive must in the ultimate analysis depend upon the Judiciary’s own internal discipline and integrity, and also its public image so as to inspire support and acceptance by the people. The cardinal principle in the maintenance of this relationship is that the Judiciary will decline to get involved in the right and wrong of a Government policy unless citizens’ rights are violated. If a judgement is pronounced against the Government, it must not be regarded as a judicial condemnation of the Government policy but rather as its protection of a citizen’s right and liberty.

    “To be an effective guardian of liberty, not only should the Judiciary be independent, it should also not be deprived of its role in interpreting the law and Constitution and apply it to the cases before itself. This means that access to courts shall not be denied, but kept open to citizens to lay their grievances.”

    There was no question that the Judiciary in our system was designed, after the British model, as a “a definite check against improper acts by the Executive”, that is, against abuse of power by the Executive arm of the Government. A great many ordinary people in Malaysia, and in most developing countries, are not aware of this vital fact. Therefore, in order to develop and strengthen our democratic institutions, this message cannot be repeated often enough. Less than a year after New Delhi, on the occasion of the official opening of the Supreme Court in Kuala Lumpur I raised the subject again:

    “If justice is administered properly, the public confidence in the system is assured, but if it is not, the public confidence is eroded and people are likely to resort to measures of self help in order to settle their disputes, and if these incidents occur too frequently national unity and political stability which hold the nation together will be in jeopardy. It is as simple as that.

    “Thus an independent Judiciary is the key to national unity and progress, especially when it is comprised of men of high honour and integrity and men with a sense of responsibility and loyalty who are there to do justice according to law and according to the Oath of office which they have taken.”

    These ideas are not new, not revolutionary. They are perhaps as old as civilisation itself. But they have to be repeated from time to time, and judges throughout the ages have done so, because every generation must be made aware of their importance. Public awareness of this is, without doubt, the key to the liberty, peace and happiness of the citizen. Without an independent and courageous Judiciary the citizen cannot feel safe against capricious officials or the resulting arbitrary rule, for there will be no one to turn to against the onslaught of such an intimidating thing as the Government machine.

    In the more mature societies a long history of public debate on citizen’s rights have made the people very conscious of their rights, and the role the Judiciary plays in preserving these rights, that is, their freedoms. This is not the case in developing countries such as ours. That is why judges must do more than simply adjudicate.

    Judges must also act as teachers in those societies still struggling to emerge from the soul-strangling psychological cocoon of another era – to take their place in the modem world.

    Race memories of ancient norms and arbitrary rule still help preserve old fears. Old proverbs teach children at their mothers’ knees that “Kecil-kecil anak harimau,” implying, “Though he is tiny, he is a royal tiger cub and must be respected;” or “Punggur rebah, belatuk menumpang mati,” suggesting “When the chief falls ruin comes to his followers.” The Tamil people say, “What difference does it make whether Sri Rama rules or the ogre King Ravana rules?” implying helplessness against any and every ruler, whether he be benevolent or malevolent.

    These traditional notions of the subject’s relationship with rulers easily translated to mean others, besides hereditary Kings and sultans, who wield power – still haunt society. Russian peasants descended from the Czars’ serfs – 70 years after the Bolshevik Revolution – remain terrified of the members of the Politburo as well as petty officials – glasnost and perestroika notwithstanding. Descendants of the Indian Maharajahs’ retainers fold their arms and look at the ground when they stand before any minor Government official or Cabinet Minister. They are terrified of even policemen. It is not so very different in Malaysia. The subject is often unaware that the world has changed, and that protective devices against arbitrary rule have been created and enshrined in the Constitution for his security, welfare and happiness. Even in New York and Chicago free citizens still complain disconsolately that, “You cannot beat City Hall,” implying that the rulers somehow always have the upper hand. Ancient fears are not easy to dispel . An old English saying, derived from ancient Greek is, “Kings have long arms.”

    It all takes time.

    There are those marvellous lines from Shakespeare’s King Richard II:

    “Not all the water of the rough rude sea Can wash the balm off from an anointed King.”

    The lines were written in 1595-96, almost 400 years after Magna Carta was first signed. For centuries it was English wisdom that “The King can do no wrong.” Yet as recently as 1981 it had to be explained again to a population already well imbued with the democratic impulse and spirit, that the King pan indeed do no wrong, but for very different reasons, as the London Times did in an editorial:

    “The Queen has no power but some influence. [She] can do no wrong. The ministers are responsible.”

    There is no arbitrary power left with Constitutional monarchs. The Queen was no longer capable of doing a wrong because she has no power to. As far back as 1605, a Polish politician, Jan Zamoyski put it very neatly:

    “‘The King reigns, but does not govern.”

    Who but judges in courts of law, doing justice in full public view, can explain these things to the people at large with more knowledge and more authority, on a continuing basis? 1 myself made it my business, over a long period, to play whatever role 1 could in the process of this education, this creation of a public awareness of the rights of subjects and the range and variety of protective machinery available to him. So did many Malaysian judges. How important this public awareness is became very clear to Malaysians after the John Berthelsen case. They were also to learn that the naked Constitution is no protection against capricious action or arbitrary rule by the authorities. For without independent judges on the bench, that sacred instrument itself is not safe.”

  13. Another ‘interesting’ ruling by a High Court judge 2 days ago. Local residents failed to challenge the AELB authority to approve a temporary operating licence for Australian miner Lynas Corp’s controversial rare earth plant in Kuantan.

    Justice Rohana Yusuf said that she had rejected the group’s bid for a judicial review on the grounds that a parliamentary select committee (PSC) as well as the science, technology and innovation minister were already looking into the same issues raised by the residents. She added that should the findings of the minister differ from the court’s, this would result in “confusion and embarrassment”.

    Obviously this judge thinks that the courts cannot function independently but must be subservient to parliament and the government. She is also more concern about giving ‘face’ to a minister. What happened to the doctrine of separation of powers ??

  14. I think YB Lim Kit Siang will make a very interesting Law Minister.
    Just one term. Just one term to fix the Judiciary.

  15. TDM did not empower himself. Power was given to him again and again, through the polls. He who gives power is greater than he who receives it! Is the giver then to share the responsibility just as much as the given?

  16. Kathy, why the verbal diarrhoea , must be thee bad char koey .. We shall wait for Mongkut Bean, the head priest of New York formally the chief monk of Wat Bakar Bata.

  17. Kutty should be thankfull to Zaid as the RM5 million compensation paid out to Salleh Abbas and lesser amounts to the sacked judges bought their total silence and not a word from them since then !!

  18. Judgment without mercy is not justice. Mercy is given great prominence in one Holy Book I know of. There has got to be a reason for that! Perhaps we ought to learn from the Final Judge.

  19. khem do you even know what happened in 1988? now read it. Yes you can wait for Mongkut Bean. But here I give you from the man himslef , the former Lord President who faced this , the nation who did not know then what Mahahtir was planning for our country.

    Be careful whom you choose. If you dont care to read it, I dont care. At least the others may. Thats why Umno has this power over you because of this attitude you display. Uninformed , so its easy for them to bulldoze the people.Rread it khem read it. For your own sake or the sake of the future generations.

  20. Leaving the finer points of the courts’ dignity asiide, I think the judge has not heard of the greater points one can earn by tempering justice with mercy. As a Muslim he should have practiced what all religions exhort their adherents to do.

    Anyway, this disease of siding with the strong by the judiciary is pretty endemic in the country. And I speak from personal experience, from a case against a well-known company that sold me a defectve refrigerator. Resorting to the Consumer Tribunal after following all the requirements in a looking for compensation, I was shocked to see the presiding officer being so obvious in favor of the company’s position. In fact, while waiting for my case to come up, I noticed this particular officer seemed to have forgotten her role as presiding over a forum where consumers instead of giant companies, would get a fair shake.

    Imam Hoslan’s case is apparently just one in many of judges not knowing what their role is that would justify the position and dignity of the courts. The difference is he was brave enough to express physically what many of us feel should be done to the whole system of institutions that have been so degraded by our political hoodlums.

  21. Yes Kathy, Salleh and many others fell victims to the system…but being part of the elites he still drew his pension ( Kutty knows money talks) and after the RM5 million Zaid showered on him,( tax money ) he made his peace with the system. No time for details lah !!! Kudos to you all the same for remaining passionate about change for a better Malaysia !! Most middle class and privilaged elites do not really give a damn . Sad but true , until some kind of Arab spring takes shape in the streets !!

  22. “We have the ridiculous statement by a judge in the Altantuya case, that “….motive, although relevant, has never been essential to constitute murder.” — Mariam

    How is that ridiculous, Mariam?

  23. Yesterday the mosque in SS15 Subang Jaya blasted its friday sermon at 200decibels, to all and sundry on the “…good governance and stupendous efforts by the present day Federal govt…”and it also went on & oN & ON about how great bn is and how difficult it is to govern this country blahblahblah… shutting my windows and running the aircons didnt do any good. But I digress.
    Even the mosque’s freedom to preach Allah’s word had been hijacked. They don’t even fear Allah/God. So, what is a few bolehmen in long gown? 555

  24. The wheels of justice in a third world country like Malaysia known for its abuse of power and corruption, may be slow to turn, wobbly at times, even turning the wrong way sometimes but I can’t imagine how things would be without a justice system. Can you?

    Having said that miscarriage of justice is not the monopoly of any one country, in any one jurisdiction, but what sets Malaysia apart from many in the developed world where the rule of law means just that, is the process itself. It is flawed by design. It is like as if it is set to fail.

    There are a number of Americans who are languishing in jail as we speak, not because they are not guilty but the process is flawed in their cases. Any benefit of the doubt has to be given to the accused. The system is not perfect. But it is better for some criminals to walk free in out streets than for one innocent man to be languishing in jail for a crime he never committed. In the U.S system (which follows the English common law). and in all common law jurisdiction like Australia, N.Z, India the concern is for the rights of the accused individual. The search is not so much for the truth but the protection of those rights of the individual guaranteed under the country’s constitution. In the European system it is different. It is an inquisitorial system with judges participating in the process; and the search is for the truth. The rights of the individual take a back seat. Hence Amanda Knox, an American citizen was found guilty of murder by an Italian court but later freed. In the U.S. we have cases like Casey Anthony accused of the murder of her own child set free by the jury. The finding at the end of the process is not of innocence but of not guilty. There is a difference between the two. We recognize that there is no perfect system and that the adversarial system of justice would be the best way to go but justice sometimes fails. While that may be true the fight is to keep the innocent out of jail at the cost of allowing criminals to walk free and sometimes to commit more crimes.

    In the upcoming Scorpene case in France, there are strong vested interests at work and it would be interesting to see how the European model of the inquisitorial system of justice would fare when pitched against those interests.

  25. Obviously this judge thinks that the courts cannot function independently but must be subservient to parliament and the government. She is also more concern about giving ‘face’ to a minister. What happened to the doctrine of separation of pow Majiders ??” — Jamal

    What happened to the doctrine of separation of powers? It went out the window the day Mahathir took office and has not returned since.

    To begin with the parliamentary system does not sit well with the doctrine of the separation of powers. You have the head of the executive branch sitting in proceedings of the legislative branch. Whereas in a presidential system like that of the United States the U.S. President cannot set foot in the Capitol Building unless invited. He does that when he gives his State of the Union address to a joint session of the House and Senate.

  26. When ousting the Lord President (now Chief Justice) Mahathir said to Salleh that perhaps he should stand for election like the rest so he could claim to speak for the people. Mahathir was fuming over the thought that a judge could stand in the way of an elected representative of the people especially when he is also the country’s Prime Minister. He went on to mock the English common law principle of natural justice. “What natural justice” he says in mockery of a system that has worked well for hundreds of years. “What common law?” he screamed! Ignoring the fact that Malaysia has not even been independent for fifty years and has no tradition of its own, no common law to call its own.

    This is a man whose ambition was first to be a lawyer but as fate would have had it, his ambition was quashed by a treasury official of his own state who set him off across the causeway instead of across the oceans. I wonder what that treasury official who sealed Mahathir’s fate would say today had he known that he was also sealing the fate of his own country decades later. Perhaps Mahathir would have made a good advocate. We don’t know. But what we do know is that the country would be on a different trajectory today had there been no intervention.

    Today in the U.S. we see what impatience shown by the head of the executive branch could do to him.. President Obama used the opportunity when asked by a journalist to comment on what he thought would be the likely outcome of the healthcare law the U.S. Congress has passed which is now before the U.S. Supreme Court. But with the U.S. President he was respectful of the federal justices though hoping that they would also not ignore a decision made by the legislative branch. I was listening to his address on TV in the Rose Garden and I cringed as he searched for the right words. Without a teleprompter it is hard. Predictably he found himself in the middle of a fire storm as Republicans exploited his poor choice of words.

  27. Mr Bojangles,
    Can we have the conclusion of the case of the defective refrigerator? You did not have to reach for your shoes, did you?

  28. “We have the ridiculous statement by a judge in the Altantuya case, that “….motive, although relevant, has never been essential to constitute murder.” (sic) — Mariam Mokhtar

    The writer is obviously not trained in the law.

  29. Grumble all you want…for 22 years madir had his filthy hands fondle on every damn aspect of your livelihood. He mercilessly rape the system good and proper. Out of ignorance or perhaps cowardice , malayans permitted one sadistic crazy ol’ man to play judge , jury , executioner and the hangman…Who to blame if not thy self? Now let us hear you say , Untuk bangsa , agama dan negara…Goodness gracious me!

  30. You folks are in contempt of the Courts of Malaysia for writing such things. You should be charged for such disrespectful conduct and given harsh sentences in jail for bringing disrepute to such esteemed institution of Malaysia.

    But then,the arguments in Court will be who is actually in contempt … those who speak badly about the Courts or those who made the Courts into a den for kangaroos.

    Society order is already upside down … first they house cows in posh condominiums and now the courts …

  31. “What happened to the doctrine of separation of powers?”
    Nothing, the doctrine is still there, intact! It is the implementation of the doctrine, in some cases, that has evaporated.

  32. black gold,

    Conclusion? The company got another shot at repairing the fridge, which was a useless exercise to me since I had in the the interim bought another one (you cannot be without a fridge for long especially in these here tropics, a family has to be fed). I think the rational and logical thing to do was to compensate with cash, But I guess rationality and logic, like mercy, is alien to those who sit in authority.

    I then wrote to the Chairman of the Tribunal, and after two months and a reminder, I was told to initiate civil action action against the company. Well, you know what that entails.

    So, one up for consumer rights ala bolehland.
    And my shoes? I thought they were too good to be wasted on the judge.

  33. Thank you, Mr Bojangles. If this is the kind of justice you get for a fridge, can you imagine what you will get for a condo with a complaint of cows trespassing? They will probably tell you to take the animals to court!

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