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The doctrine of "separation of powers" may not be written down in our constitution but it has remained a fundamental feature of all parliamentary democracies of the Westminster model.

Of the three branches of government, the judiciary is charged with interpreting laws and adjudicating disputes. It must not only be independent but must be seen to be so.

Thus any interference with or encroachment on its domain is wrong. But where the wrong stems from collusion between the executive and the judiciary, it goes to the very core of civil society and spells the death of democracy.

When the administration of Abdullah Ahmad Badawi began in October 2003, the new Prime Minister did not mention judicial reform in his three-pronged platform of reform of the police force, reform of the civil service, and the war against corruption.

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