Wednesday, June 11, 2008


"...God has given me the strength and fortitude, as a lesser mortal, to act without fear or favour, for fear of a breach of oath of office and sacrifice justice, and above all to truly act as a judge and not a “yes-man” - Muhammad Kamil Awang J

Well, that Muhammad Kamil Awang J did get it right for that is how a judge is to behave....

Below is the response of the Bar Council, Dr Mahathir (our former premier)...and the response of our current government in the form of the de-facto Minister of Law who said that there will be no investigation into the matters revealed by Ian Chin because it will be a waste of money.... (is that indicative of really how our current PM and the government view the judiciary....mmmm)

In any event, the question is WHO should be doing the PROBING or the INVESTIGATING? In a Democracy, there are three independent pillars, i.e. the Executive (being the PM and his Cabinet), the Legislative (being Parliament - the Dewan Rakyat, the Dewan Negara,...) and the Judiciary. Should the executive be deciding? I think not .... maybe it should be the KING - a Royal Commission...or maybe the Judiciary.

Will the police or maybe the ACA start an investigation --- or are they going to be waiting to get orders from the Attorney General ....who is waiting for the "go-ahead" from the current Prime Minister...

What we need now is the setting up of ROYAL COMMISSION FOR THE REFORM OF THE MALAYSIAN JUDICIARY....(which is very different from the Judicial Appointments Commission who is concerned with the choosing, appointment, elevation of Judges...who according to our PM will only be advising him anyway - and he (the PM) will not be bound to follow that advise. Now if the PM advise, then the King must follow....odd is it not)
who will also look at

So, yes, we do need a ROYAL COMMISSION FOR THE REFORM OF THE MALAYSIAN JUDICIARY - and that is not for the narrow purpose of looking at the allegations made by Ian Chin (or some other Judge some time ago...) BUT to really look at the Judiciary and propose some serious reforms....certain questions need to be answered.....

a) If a person has a complain about a Judge or the court, to whom would he make it? Who will be responsible for investigating and acting on that complaint?

b) If a Judge has some complaint, like that of Ian Chin..., where would they go to...? They cannot go to their heads in the Judiciary ...since it may just be about these heads that the complaint is all about. After all that directive to Muhammad Kamil Awang J came from his superiors. In the case of Ian Chin, the complaint is about the PM, the DPM and the government(i.e. the executive) who should be dealing with this kind of matters.

c) A Judicial Ombudsman - appointed by the yang Di-Pertuan Agung reporting back to the Parliament (mmmm but that provision about that reporting back to parliament really do not work as we see that despite a statutory provision is there with regard to SUHAKAM's reports - to date I believe, Parliament has yet to discuss, let alone, debate that SUHAKAM reports, its reccomendation.

d) Should Judges be elected?

e) Separation of the Judicial and Legal Services Commissions...

-- BUT then some may say, do we need to waste time now with yet another ROYAL COMMISSION when Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is PM (and BN is government) - for after all the 2 Royal Commissions' proposal on the POLICE (IPCMC) , which Abdullah assured us he would implement, is still far from being a reality. Mind you the Royal Commission did even prepare a Draft Bill - all you needed to do was put it before Parliament and it would have become law and we would have had that IPCMC for the Police.....

I say - better have that ROYAL COMMISSION FOR THE REFORM OF THE MALAYSIAN JUDICIARY now - so even if Badawi-led government does not implement the recommendations maybe the next government would.

I would say no to setting up small little Inquiry Panels and Commissions of Inquiry for that Lingam Tape matter, now the Ian Chin Disclosures - BOOT CAMP and all, some other matter or scandal tommorrow - better just have ONE big ROYAL COMMISSION FOR THE REFORM OF THE MALAYSIAN JUDICIARY

Considering the state of our Malaysian Judiciary today, I believe that maybe the Malaysia should adhere to the recently passed UN General Assembly resolution calling for an immediate moratorium of the death penalty... A person should not be executed by the State based on the judgment of some possibly BAD Judge or Judges, should he, now?

Press Statement: Bar Council’s immediate response to the Report in the Borneo Post dated 10 June 2008

Contributed by Ambiga Sreenevasan
Tuesday, 10 June 2008 10:51pm

Ambiga SreenevasanThe disclosures made today by High Court Judge Ian Chin J are both startling and damning. They speak to forms of executive and other interference in the judiciary which have undermined the institution. Judges must make known and if necessary make public any such acts of interference by any party.

One of the more significant disclosures made by the Judge is that he was informed by another High Court Judge Muhammad Kamil Awang J (as he then was), that he had received a telephone call from the then Chief Justice asking the latter to dismiss an election petition that was heard in 2001 in relation to the Likas constituency elections in March 1999. This corroborates the similar disclosure made by Muhammad Kamil Awang J himself in his judgment on that election petition namely in the case of Harris Mohd Salleh v The Returning Officer, Ismail Majin & Ors [2001] 3 CLJ 161. In that case, the Judge said:

“The only guide to a man is his conscience, the only shield to his memory is the rectitude and the sincerity of his action. In my view, it is an insult to one’s intelligence to be given a directive over the phone that these petitions should be stuck off without a hearing, and above all, it is with prescience conscience that I heard these petitions. God has given me the strength and fortitude, as a lesser mortal, to act without fear or favour, for fear of a breach of oath of office and sacrifice justice, and above all to truly act as a judge and not a “yes-man”.”

Another disclosure by Ian Chin J about the conduct of a “boot camp” for judges and judicial officers was equally shocking and should be investigated.

These allegations and all the other disclosures made by Ian Chin J must of course be comprehensively looked into, not only by the Chief Justice but by all other relevant authorities. Judges, both present and past, must be encouraged to come forward and provide information of any such instances of interference so that further action may be taken.

Ambiga Sreenevasan
Bar Council

Dr Mahathir's response as found in his blog, Che Det:-

Dr M threatened judges

Both the New Straits Times and the Star today chose to splash Justice Dato Ian Chin’s “stunning” claims of my alleged interference in the judiciary, providing brief respite from the current issues of oil price hike etc etc

I will refrain from commenting for now and will do so in due time.

However, I am quite curious about what Ian Chin considers as “veiled threat”. Perhaps he could be more specific as his allegations are very serious.

And in Malaysiakini, it was reported that "....De facto law minister Zaid Ibrahim today ruled out a probe into
by Sabah and Sarawak High Court judge Ian Chin on executive intervention into the judiciary some 10 years ago...." (Zaid: No probe on judge's expose)

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