Will Zaki undertake to recuse
himself from all cases with UMNO political and corporate interests while
serving as Court of Appeal President and when elevated to Chief Justice of
Malaysia in 10 months’ time?
Media Statement (2)
by Lim Kit Siang
Minister in the Prime
Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, cannot be more wrong when he
cited Tun Mohamed Dzaiddin Abdullah as a precedent for the fast-track
elevation of Tan Sri Zaki Tun Azmi as the Court of Appeal President,
half-a-heart beat away as Chief Justice of Malaysia in ten months’ time in
October next year.
Zaki’s triple jump to become Federal Court judge in September without ever
being High Court or Court of Appeal judge is completely without precedent
in the nation’s judicial history for half-a-century – just like his
quadruple jump in three months up the judicial hierarchy to become the
Court of Appeal President or his quintuple jump in a matter of a year when
he is appointed Chief Justice of Malaysia next October when Datuk Abdul
Hamid Mohamad steps down from the topmost judicial post.
Nazri had been wrongly advised about the history of judicial appointments
for Dzaiddin, who served as High Court Judge for more than 10 years and
Federal Court judge for seven years before he was unexpectedly appointed
the Chief Justice of Malaysia in December 2000 – as the choice of the
Conference of Rulers which had rejected the original nominee presented by
the then Prime Minister.
What are the grounds for the supersonic flight up the judicial hierarchy
for Zaki - apart from his UMNO associations - as he is no legal luminary
in the Malaysian legal firmament?
At a time when the country is struggling to come out of the 19-year crisis
of confidence in the independence, integrity and competence of the
judiciary, Zaki’s most unorthodox triple, quadruple and quintuple leap up
the judicial hierarchy raises most disturbing questions whether there is
any real understanding let alone political will on the part of the top
national leadership on the urgent need to restore the Malaysian judiciary
to the world-class level it had enjoyed two decades ago.
Or is Malaysia on the occasion of its 50th Merdeka anniversary taking the
first step to have an UMNO Chief Justice instead of a Chief Justice for
all Malaysians by October next year?
Zaki’s long association as UMNO legal adviser and corporate lawyer
(including being involved in dubious UMNO corporate deals) is a matter of
public record and well-known.
Zaki should explain how he proposes to assure Malaysians that he would be
Court of Appeal President and later Chief Justice of Malaysia for all 27
million Malaysians and not just for UMNO.
Is he still an UMNO member and if not, when did he resign from UMNO.
What were the corporate appointments, associations and involvements which
he relinquished following his appointment as Federal Court judge in
September, and why is he shy to make public the full list of the corporate
appointments he had relinquished and still to be relinquished which is
routine for judges in developed countries where judicial accountability,
transparency and integrity are taken seriously.
Will Zaki undertake to recuse himself from all cases with UMNO political
and corporate interests while serving as Court of Appeal President and
when elevated to Chief Justice of Malaysia in 10 months’ time to assure
all Malaysians that he would not compromise the principle of judicial
independence and integrity?
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman