Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim lives in an ivory tower called the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya. With each passing day he levitates further from reality in his palatial trappings.
In his chamber he churns out many a long tale about how justice freely flows in the kingdom of Bolehland. He is cloistered enough to confuse fantasy and fiction with fact.
The CJ proudly unveils an inaugural report - a 'report card' containing what almost everybody already knows - the judicial structure, its administrative organisation chart, statistics and his vision for the judiciary.
The local citizenry and the international judicial fraternity have not been too kind in their perception of the judiciary and so he turns his back on them and produces a glossy in-house evaluation a self-patting-on-the-back report.
The aim of his official yawn and yarn, he proclaims, is to 'negate comments by some 'armchair critics' that public confidence in the judiciary has been seriously eroded.
"The truth is that public confidence in the judiciary has been increasing steadily as the statistics in this report show," he mysteriously maintains - whilst ironically revealing some not-so-nice statistics.
Since he took over some 17 months ago, there still remains a backlog of criminal cases that have kept nearly 12,000 people in remand, 914 of them behind bars for more than two years.
Alas, who are these 'armchair critics' who have upset Ahmad Fairuz and who dare to give a picture about the public's perception of the judiciary that contradicts that of his Lordship of the Palace of Justice?
Was the CJ referring to the Sultan of Perak? It is impossible to imagine the ruler, who was once Lord President of the judiciary, as one who sits around armed with unfair criticisms against the judiciary.
Quite contrary to the CJ's report card, Sultan Azlan Shah had warned in June this year, that the erosion of public confidence in the judiciary's independence would ultimately lead to instability and remedying it would be a protracted and arduous task.
Or could the CJ be referring to government backbencher Zaid Ibrahim as an armchair ('armbench') critic? The member of parliament for Kota Bahru, in his maiden speech in parliament in May this year, had called for the Federal Constitution to be amended in order to restore the power of the judiciary.
Zaid, a senior lawyer and Kelantan Umno deputy chief, felt that the role of the courts has diminished following the 1988 judicial crisis which saw the removal of Lord President Salleh Abas, followed by amendments to the constitution which limited the powers of the judiciary, including the rights to review some of the government's decisions.
The chief justice also points out that 'the focal point of the inaugural report was the workings of the Palace of Justice which reflected the Federal Court judges' commitment to justice and respect for rule of law'.
"And the fact that it is standing on its own, quite apart from the executive and legislative branches can only mean one thing - that the Malaysian judiciary and its judges are independent and free from fear, favour or influence from any quarter when dispensing justice according to law and will remain to be so."
Apart from the very strange logic he has concocted, it is evident that the CJ is very much on his own when it comes to discerning the public's perception of the independence of the judiciary.
Why would the Sultan of Perak deem it necessary to stress on the fact that '... judicial independence was an essential factor to ensure justice' and 'to prevent domination, the doctrine of the separation of powers had been enshrined in the constitution'?
Why, the government is not even shy over the fact that the Palace of Justice does not work 'on its own'. Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nazri Abdul Aziz offers the enlightened view that 'that the concept of separation of powers between the legislative, judiciary and executive is 'too idealistic' to be implemented in the country'.
His Lordship of the Palace of Justice makes no mention of the controversial trials of the prisoner at Sungai Buloh over the past year which have left an indelible blot in the public's report card on the judiciary.
The public saw for themselves how for the first time in Bolehland it took as many as three judges of a Court of Appeal as long as nine months to deliver a verdict on a bail application which a solitary magistrate could normally dispose of in nine minutes.
How can there be an increase in public confidence in the judiciary when for the first time in the country's history the judges in a Court of Appeal were booed for refusing to reconvene when they had promised to do so earlier?
Who would have imagined that the great Palace of Justice holding the highest court in the country would one day be forced to hear a simple bail application and to dish out a reason that 'does not augur well for judicial credibility' to deny bail?
Can the public be blamed for their negative perception of the 'write-to-me CJ' when it became obvious that he had kept mum in spite of the many letters written by Anwar Ibrahim urging him to ensure that justice not be delayed? It was in sharp contrast to what a distinguished judge had once declared: 'In this court ... silence is not our custom'.
The CJ (in contrast to the concern shown by the Centre on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers of the International Commission of Jurists) also kept silent over the Federal Court's unexplained last-minute postponement to deliver its decision on the sodomy appeal by Anwar. (The decision will now be given on Aug 28.)
When sought by Anwar's lawyers to hasten the Federal Court's decision - since the delay has a bearing on Anwar's deteriorating health condition - Ahmad Fairuz said that he had no right to instruct his judges on how to handle the appeal.
The decision was supposed to have been delivered on July 22. For reasons known only to the three judges (and the CJ?), it was postponed at the last minute. Since the decision had already been made how would the CJ be 'interfering' by asking them to deliver it soon? Anwar's lawyers had been served with some judicial chicanery by the CJ in his chambers.
Further, the delays by both the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court are in fact a breach of a directive that judgments be issued (at the most) six weeks after the arguments have concluded. By his inaction, the CJ was 'interfering' in the very process meant to ensure an efficient judicial system.
Justice and the truth have a very strange and unexpected way of showing up and bouncing back. There were moments during the main and related trials of Anwar when it looked as though the Prisoner of Sungai Buloh was the one holding court and the judges were on trial.
Surely the three judges of the Court of Appeal will always remember the man who, suffering from a worsening spine problem, told them that they were spineless and that they had delivered a scripted judgment.
Whatever the decision of the Federal Court may be on Aug 28, Anwar Ibrahim has succeeded in bringing out the worst in the judiciary.
For example, Anwar's bail application revealed that though justice delayed is justice denied, in Bolehland justices must not be denied their duty to delay. They stand tall - those who can stall.
Through the Anwar trials, the public saw for themselves how the judiciary the very 'portal of justice' could give legitimacy to a legal process that was politically motivated, patently unfair and palpably wrong.
Time and again, Anwar would 'rule' that the court that came before him had allowed itself to be intimidated, its independence interfered with, and its integrity reduced to ignominy.
The public also saw in the last year that just as in politics where subservience has its reward, pliant judges who play politics will also receive their payback and be promoted to high places albeit their low integrity in the eyes of the public.
The CJ's report card also does not mention how the Malaysian courts have been passing the buck on issues surrounding civil and syariah jurisdictions and its social implications on the families involved, for far too long.
In a public seminar recently, senior lawyer Raja Aziz Addruse opined that issues of religious freedom, conversion and renunciation, particularly in family disputes, remain unresolved mainly due to the attitude of the Malaysian judiciary and the bureaucracy's mindset.
But his Lordship of the Palace of Justice is unfazed by the reality that surrounds him. He remains imprisoned in a world of his own, spinning 'the truth ... that public confidence in the judiciary has been increasing steadily'.
Hazy is the head that wears the crown in the Palace of Justice.