LETTER

Judiciary has gone to the dogs

Pak Pandir Baru

Published
Modified 29 Jan 2008, 10:21 am

I refer to the Malaysiakini report Video links CJ to 'judicial fixing' scandal . The Chief Justice is caught on tape discussing with a senior lawyer the appointment of 'friendly' judges and this really makes one wonder about the moral standards of our present CJ.

After all, one side of the conversation has been caught on tape and if this is not true, it is best that the CJ sue Anwar Ibrahim for slander.

Previously, the people's perception was that judges could be 'bought' in this country by powerful litigants. This has now been more or less confirmed. The current tenure of our Chief Justice himself has been dodged by numerous controversies including the promotion of undeserving judges, biased judgments and judges who have failed to produce their written judgments, sometimes for years.

Judges are supposed to protect and uphold the constitution and work without fear or favour in delivering impartial judgments. One would think that the top judge in this country will be the first among equals among his fellow judges and a role model for others to follow.

If the top judge cannot walk a straight path while doing his work, how can we expect his subordinates in the federal, appeal and high courts to decide impartially when they hold court?

If this allegation is true, one thinks that justice in this country has gone to the dogs and that the common people cannot expect the court to protect their interests if they face powerful litigants who can buy their way in the courtrooms.

Foreign investors will be more worried about investing in this country if they see that our judiciary - which is supposed to be free from any interference - is compromised. Our leaders seem to be people of low integrity if we look at all the scandals that has beset our nation. The common people who have tough time eking out living in this trying times are very, very angry with these incompetent and corrupt leaders.

The only silver lining of this latest scandal involving the chief justice is that he is going to retire in the next few months. The Conference of Malay Rulers would do well in not extending his contract for the next six months as requested by him earlier.

He will go down in history with a cloud over his tenure, a poor example when compared to the former luminaries of the Malaysian judiciary such as Suffian Hashim, Raja Azlan Shah and Salleh Abas. Sadly, the present CJ is not alone for there have been other top judges involved in scandals when they were in office.

It really makes one wonder how the elevation and promotion of judges is done in this country. It would seem that judges who uphold the rule of law are put in cold storage until retirement while those who are either corrupt or lap dogs of the executive are rewarded with promotions.

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