Royal commission needed

I refer to the Malaysiakini report Video links CJ to 'judicial fixing' scandal.

A notable French thinker of the 18th century, Baron de Montesquieu (his name was Charles de Secondat), proposed the theory of the separation of powers as the important basis of a democracy. This separation of powers, which is now commonly adopted but in different forms in different countries, consists of a tripartite system of the executive, legislative and judiciary.

Of course, in a parliamentary system like ours which is based on the UK system, the executive and the legislative have very close relations as the executive consists of members from the legislative, which in our case is called the parliament.

In a presidential system like the US, the separation of powers system is more inherent. But whether it is a presidential or parliamentary system, the role of the judiciary is seen to be the most important, as it provides the ultimate check and balance in the governance of a country.

Baron Montesquieu himself noted that 'the independence of the judiciary has to be real and not apparent merely'. The judiciary was generally seen as the most important of the powers, independent and unchecked and also considered the least dangerous.

Some politicians decry judicial action against them as a 'criminalisation' of their behaviour though such 'criminalisation' may be seen as a response to corruption, collusion, or abuse of power by these politicians.

An independent judiciary, as a mechanism of check and balance, is seen to be the protector of the powers of the sovereignty, the rights of the people especially the common people, the rule of law and by extension, the whole concept of democracy.

If the executive practices good governance, there is nothing to fear of the judiciary. Similarly, if the legislative legislates in the interest of the country and the people, there is also nothing to fear from the judiciary.

It is only when certain politicians who abuse their power that they begin to fear the judiciary and hence arises the need to 'extend' their power over the judiciary. A compromised judiciary is, in essence, the removal of one of the three main pillars of democracy.

Past examples have shown that such action often results in the slow erosion of democracy and the encroachment of a dictatorship or a tyranny.

Hence, the existence of the video clip depicting a conversion (allegedly discussing the promotions of judges) between a lawyer and a prominent judge is a serious one. If the video is real and the allegation is true, the foundations of democratic principles will be shaken to the core.

It is therefore important to get to the root of this. A full investigation is in order, and in this instance, I think a royal commission should be established to clear the name of the judiciary.