Call for a Royal Commission of Inquiry to review all flawed judgments by the Malaysian judiciary whether because of racial bias or corruption in the past 26 years after the first judicial crisis of 1988

After the 13th General Elections of May 5, 2013, the country was shocked with the appearance of a former member of the judiciary making racist and seditious statements and speeches undermining the unity, harmony and goodwill among the different races and religions in the country.

One of the most racist and seditious speeches in the nation’s history was made by the former Court of Appeal Judge Mohd Noor Abdullah at the forum titled “GE13 post-mortem Muslim leadership and survival” organised by UiTM Malaysia Alumni Association and Gabungan Pelajar Melayu Semanjung in Kuala Lumpur in May 2013 where Mohd Noor warned that the Chinese Malaysians must be prepared for a backlash from the Malay community for their “betrayal” in the recently concluded 13th general election.

He said: “The Chinese betrayal towards the Malay’s hand of friendship – that is true. Because they plotted to seize political power even though they already have economic power”.

Mohd Noor’s racist and seditious speech was defended on the ground that it was “as a whole constructive and within the boundaries of what is in the federal constitution”, and in line with his expertise as a former judge.

Up to now, Mohd Noor has not been able to quote chapter and verse as to which article or part of the Malaysian Constitution justified his making irresponsible, fictitious, inflammatory, racist and seditious allegations that the Chinese in Malaysia “plotted to seize political power even though they already have economic power” or his criminal and gangsterish threat of a “Malay backlash” to a completely non-existent “Chinese betrayal towards the Malay’s hand of friendship” ?

Mohd Noor seemed to be blissfully unaware that in Peninsular Malaysia, Pakatan Rakyat won more Malay votes compared to Chinese votes in the 13GE, although by a slight margin – i.e. 2.31 million Malay votes compared to 2.29 million Chinese votes. Chinese support for Pakatan Rakyat was estimated at 80% while Malay support was estimated at 42%, and Indian support at 50%.

Mohd Noor also disgraced the legal and judicial profession when he tried to create fear among the audience with the Singapore bogey, mischievously and maliciously concocting the lie that just a simple majority in Parliament would be adequate to admit Singapore into the Federation of Malaysia without needing the consent of the Conference of Rulers.

Malaysians at the time had asked how could a former high judicial officer be so irresponsible, mischievous and seditious as to suggest that Article 1 of the Federal Constitution on “Name, States and territories of the Federation” could be amended by a simple majority and not two-thirds parliamentary majority?

However the police had so far failed to take any action against Mohd Noor for his seditious statements, and the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar had not said a single word about investigating Mohd Noor for sedition although he recently announced publicly that the police would be coming for me under the Sedition Act for my recent statement that Teoh Beng Hock had been murdered at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) premises in Shah Alam on July 16, 2009.

Now, Malaysians are getting a further shock that another former judge, who had held a higher judicial office than Mohd Noor as Tun Abdul Hamid Mohamad was the Chief Justice in 2007, had joined him in making irresponsible, racist and seditious statements.

After his unfounded, incendiary and seditious comments that the position of Islam is under threat in Penang, a former federal court judge revealed that Hamid had been guilty of racial and religious prejudice in a decision on a civil case which he heard as a High Court judge in the 90s.

In this 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. 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”. However, Hamid did not accept the allegation of the Indian.

The bank and the Indian appealed to the Court of Appeal, which dismissed the bank’s appeal, set aside Hamid’s judgment and ordered a trial.

This is most shocking and has revived public concerns about the independence, professionalism and integrity of the judiciary in the past half a century – after the first judicial crisis in 1988 which saw the sacking of the then Lord President, Tun Salleh Abas and two Supreme Court judges by the then Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, marking the height of executive interference and destruction of the independence of the judiciary in Malaysia.

What is needed now is to fully restore public confidence in the independence, professionalism and integrity of the judiciary and I call for a Royal Commission of Inquiry to review all flawed judgments whether by racial bias or corruption in the past 26 years after the first judicial crisis of 1988.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah