How could an extremist with racial and religious prejudice rise up to become Chief Justice, the top judicial officer of the land?
The question more and more lawyers and Malaysians are asking is how an extremist with racial and religious prejudice like Tun Abdul Hamid Mohamad could rise up to become Chief Justice, the top judicial officer of the land.
Last month, Tun Hamid shocked the judicial community and Malaysians when he waded into treacherous waters and warned at the so-called National Unity Convention that Malays will become “Red Indians in their own land” if UMNO and PAS do not co-operate to defend the government from DAP and PKR.
Hamid was never interested in national unity in the sense of Malaysian unity but only in his concept of Malay unity.
He also did not explain how after 57 years of UMNO government under six UMNO Prime Ministers, Malays and Islam are under threat or whether 57 years of UMNO government under six UMNO Prime Ministers had been such dismal failures that Malays and Islam are under siege today.
Hamid, who was elevated to the highest judicial post when he was appointed Chief Justice from 2007-2008, succeeding Tun Fairuz Abdul Halim and preceding Tun Zaki Azmi, had exhibited extremist tendency even when he was a judge.
In July, in a Malaysian Insider report, retired Federal Court judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram revealed that Hamid had shown extremist prejudice in a decision on a civil case which he heard as a High Court judge in the 90s.
Sri Ram had sat on a Court of Appeal bench in 1996 which came across Hamid’s decision in a civil case that belied his prejudice.
In that case, a bank had sued two business partners, a Malay and an Indian, who had stood guarantors for a loan. Both the defendants relied on the defence that their signatures were forged by a third party.
Sri Ram said Hamid, who had written the judgment in Bahasa Malaysia, accepted the claim by the Malay defendant because “as a Muslim he would not tell lies”.
He, however, did not accept the allegation of the Indian. The bank and the Indian appealed to the Court of Appeal.
The Court of Appeal, comprising Sri Ram, late Tan Sri Abdul Malek Ahmad and Tan Sri Siti Normah Yaakob, dismissed the bank’s appeal, set aside Hamid’s judgment and ordered a trial.
Hamid should have been hauled before the judicial tribunal for such an extremist, racial and religious prejudice and not be allowed to be promoted up the judicial ladder.
Instead, he rose up the judiciary ranks from High Court to Court of Appeal and Federal Court, and then appointed Court of Appeal President and Chief Justice of Malaysia.
There is clearly something amiss in the appointment and promotion of judges in Malaysia where an extremist with racial and religious prejudice could rise up all the way to become Chief Justice of the country.