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Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang Siang in Petaling Jaya on Saturday, 16th May 2009: 

Most improper and irresponsible for Najib to try to influence the Court of Appeal hearing on Thursday on the Nizar-Zambry case, undermining judicial independence and integrity

It is most improper and irresponsible for the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak to try to influence the Court of Appeal hearing on Thursday on the Nizar-Zambry case, undermining judicial independence and integrity.

This is the first time in my memory in the past 43 years that a Prime Minister had made a public pronouncement on a matter which is the very subject of litigation before an appellate court, as if the Executive is sending out a clear, unmistakable and even threatening message to the Judiciary of the executive interests in a case pending before the Appellate court.

And if such impropriety had not happened in the past 43 years, it would not have happened in the first nine years of the nation’s independence, as Bapa Malaysia and the first Prime Minister, Tengku Abdul Rahman would have been very careful and meticulous in ensuring that there could not be any speck of suspicion that the Executive was interfering with the judiciary.

Hasn’t Najib heard the doctrine of the separation of powers among the executive, legislature and judiciary and the principle of the independence of the judiciary and the need for the Executive not only to respect, but also to be seen to respect, the integrity of the judiciary?

None of the previous five Prime Ministers had gone so far as to openly dictate to the judiciary how to it should adjudicate cases involving the Executive – despite the judicial darkness of the past two decades.

Why is Najib prepared to commit such a flagrant and blatant act of Executive disrespect and contempt for the Judiciary in such public and international manner?

In his statement yesterday to reporters at the Coral Triangle Initiative Summit in Manado, Indonesia, Najib defended the power grab in Perak in early February, declaring that the Sultan of Perak had acted lawfully in appointing Datuk Zambry Abdul Kadir as the Perak Mentri Besar.

How could Najib as Prime Minister acted so improperly and irresponsibly when he should know that this is precisely the constitutional issue which is before the Court of Appeal on Thursday, as Kuala Lumpur High Court Justice Datuk Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahim had handed down a landmark constitutional judgment that the Sultan of Perak has the prerogative to appoint the Mentri Besar and but no constitutional power to dismiss the Mentri Besar?

The Kuala Lumpur High Court declared that Datuk Seri Mohamad Nizar Jamaluddin is the lawful and legal Perak Mentri Besar as he could only be removed by a no confidence motion in the Perak State Assembly, which was never done.

Why did Najib act in so improper and ill-advised a manner as his statement, though made outside the country, would be seen as an undisguised arm-twisting of the judiciary, when public confidence in the judiciary is already at such a low ebb?

Najib seems to be very desperate in having to act in such a manner, which is clearly improper, ill-advised and downright wrong.

Are the Court of Appeal judges who are going to hear Zambry’s appeal against the Abdul Aziz judgment in favour of Nizar prepared to publicly declare that they would not be influenced even one iota by Najib’s Manado statement – not only just professing it but to judge without any regard to the Prime Minister’s wishes and intentions?

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



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