Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Saturday, 8th November 2008: 

ACA must immediately open investigations on Zaki’s expose of two recently retired judges who were corrupt to make public examples of them for betraying their oath of judicial office

The new Chief Justice, Tan Sri Zaki Azmi’s revelation of two recently retired judges who were suspected to be corrupt is shocking not because of the admission of rotten apples in the judiciary but only that it was made publicly in so specific fashion for the first time.

That there are corrupt judges in the judiciary has long been an open secret, which had been more than amply proved by the “correct, correct, correct” Royal Commission of Inquiry into the V.T.Lingam videotape.

This is one reason why Malaysia had suffered the plunge of our judiciary’s international reputation as a world-class institution, propelled by two decades of judicial darkness and scandals when the independence, impartiality and integrity of the Malaysian judiciary became an international laughing-stock.

Speaking at the panel on “Integrity, the Catalyst for Sustainable Development” at the national integrity convention in Kuching yesterday, Zaki said about the two corrupt judges:

"God helped me because when I came (into the judiciary), they were gone. No, I didn't dismiss them, they retired."

He said he knew the two judges personally.

The question is whether the two corrupt judges “were gone” when he became Chief Justice last month or when he was elevated to President of Court of Appeal on December 11, 2007, three months after he made the triple jump from the private sector to be appointed Federal Court judge straightaway?

If the former, then the question arises why he did not set in motion the establishment of judicial tribunals to impeach these two corrupt judges in the past 11 months.

Secondly, why hadn’t he reported the two corrupt judges to the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) as the crime of corruption has neither time bar nor statute of limitations?

Zaki’s expose should prompt the ACA to immediately open investigations on the recently retired judges who were corrupt to make public examples of them for betraying their oath of judicial office.

It was only early this week that the new Penang ACA director Latifah Md Yatim said that the ACA has been investigating corrupt allegations from all sources including newspaper reports and poison pen letters as long as there is basis.

Speaking to reporters after officially taking over the director’s post, Latifah, who was previously the ACA director of Sabah for about two years, said “there is now no excuse not to give information” and that the public should never be afraid to come forward to make reports,
There should be no need for the ACA to advise Zaki not to be afraid or that there could be no excuse for him not to give information to the ACA on the two recently retired corrupt judges.

In Kuching yesterday, Zaki also confessed that he had succumbed to the culture corruption when he recounted his “first-hand experience of having to face corruption problems in the court”, as reported by New Straits Times report, “Stop it now, corrupt court staff warned”:

"What I am telling you is not fiction but based on my own experience in private practice," he said at an integrity convention here.

Recalling an incident in 1987, Zaki said he was "blacklisted" when he complained to the chief registrar of two missing files belonging to his clients.

"It took me six months to be nice, to bribe each and every individual to get back into their good books before our files were being attended to.

"That was my personal experience, and I am telling this to all the clerks and all the registries to stop this nonsense and I know this is happening, even as late as last week... a lawyer came to see me."

He added that the clerk asked the lawyer to come the next day to collect the file after saying "tapi jangan lupa, ya", signalling him to come with cash.

Is Zaki prepared to spearhead a crusade to clean up the corruption and malpractices at all levels of the judiciary, by giving personal attention to all complaints about corruption, malpractices and abuses of power at all levels of the judicial hierarchy?

* Lim Kit Siang,  DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor