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I will move a substantive motion of no confidence in Ahmad Fairuz as Chief Justice if the Prime Minister and Cabinet evade their national duty tomorrow to restore national and international confidence in the independence and integrity of Malaysian judiciary and establish a Royal Commission of Inquiry
(Sandakan, Tuesday) : I will move a substantive motion of no confidence in Tan Sri Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim as Chief Justice when Parliament reconvenes on Oct. 22 if the Prime Minister and Cabinet evade their national duty tomorrow to restore national and international confidence in the independence and integrity of Malaysian judiciary and establish a Royal Commission of Inquiry.
The urgency of such a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the independence and integrity of the Malaysian judiciary has been highlighted by the current controversy and public furor over the Lingam Tape scandal re-opening one of the most disgraceful subjects in Malaysia – the 19-year crisis of confidence in the Malaysian judiciary with the system of justice tottering from one scandal after another in the past two decades since 1988.
Public opinion have spoken out loud and clear that Malaysia must not miss the golden opportunity which has surfaced to rectify one of the greatest national shames and injustices in five decades of Malaysian nationhood – the plunge in national and international confidence in the Malaysian judiciary in the past 19 years from the high world esteem and respect it had enjoyed during the first three decades of Malaysian history, especially under the first three Prime Ministership of Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak and Tun Hussein.
The Cabinet tomorrow must not abdicate from its national duty to do what is right for the country and future generations – to make Malaysians proud of the Malaysian judiciary and system of justice once again after 19 years by disbanding the three-man panel on the authenticity of Lingam Tape and its replacement by a Royal Commission of Inquiry with wide-ranging powers to inquire into the rot in the justice system to restore national and international confidence in the Malaysian judiciary.
On Sunday, three illustrious former members of the Bench had added their voices to the snowballing demand for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the system of justice as well as for a Judicial Appointment Commission.
The three retired judges – rightly described by Sunday Star as “among the most highly-respected to have served on the Bench - who have spoken up are retired Court of Appeal judges, Datuk Shaik Daud Ismail, Datuk K.C. Vohrah and Datuk V.C. George.
Shaik Daud made a most powerful argument for a Judicial Appointments Commission when he pointed out the blemishes of recent judicial appointments: “We have seen so many cases where seniors (judges) with merit are not promoted but juniors without merit are. The reason would appear to be that they are being rewarded.”
On the need for a Royal Commission of Inquiry instead of just a panel to look into the authenticity of Lingam Tape, George said: “The panel is only looking at one issue. I think the Bar is on the right track in calling for a royal commission to look into all aspects of the judiciary” while Vohrah said: “Yes. A royal commission could explore all aspects of the ills besetting the judiciary. The problems are far-reaching and something has to be done fairly quickly before the judiciary slides further down the track.”
On Nazri’s claim that everything was all right with the judiciary, Vohrah had this unflattering comment:
“I think he’s probably not aware of what is happening on the ground. In many commercial contracts, parties are including an arbitration clause to resolve disputes instead of the courts. That is a terrible blow to the judiciary because apart from a handful, the rest are good judges. In some states, there may be three or four judges but you will find that only one or two are doing all the work and carrying the whole burden.”
If the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and the Cabinet are not prepared to do their national duty to restore national and international confidence in the judiciary at the Cabinet meeting tomorrow by establishing a Royal Commission of Inquiry, then there is probably no other option than to explore the next logical move in Parliament – a substantive motion of no confidence in Ahmad Fairuz as Chief Justice.
This is because there are ample grounds to impeach Ahmad Fairuz for judicial misconduct and failings as Chief Justice, including:
The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz has said that the conduct of judges cannot be debated in Parliament. He is wrong. There is noting in the Parliamentary standing orders or the Constitution preventing judicial misconducts from coming under the scrutiny and debate in Parliament except that it must be by way of a substantive motion which has to comply with a special procedure.
If the Cabinet tomorrow fails to establish a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the rot in the system of justice in the past 19 years, I will set in motion the special procedure for the parliamentary scrutiny and debate of judicial misconduct in Parliament at the resumption of parliamentary meeting on Oct. 22.
I call on MPs regardless of whether from the Barisan Nasional or Opposition, to support a special debate in Parliament to restore national and international confidence in the judiciary by supporting the impeachment of Tan Sri Ahmad Fairuz as Chief Justice on the floor of Parliament.
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman