Thursday, October 30, 2008

Is outcome of Munawar's appeal indicative of what we can expect from Zaki Boss of the Malaysian Judiciary

Chief Justice Zaki Azmi beginning to throw his true colours...

Will he be able to be INDEPENDENT of UMNO and his past friends, and be able to be concerned only with justice...

Will he be a progressive judge only concerned with JUSTICE - not fearful of developing the law so that justice be done...or will he just remain a tool of UMNO and his 'old friends'.

Also noted that Zaki Azmi was a businessman with involvement in a string of companies - and if so, he must recuse himself from any case involving those companies and/or related companies or even companies whereby his once fellow member of the Board of Directors or management is involved.

Hence, it is important to be open and transparent about these past liasons and relationship - and as such somewhere (possibly in the Judiciary Website or the Malaysian Bar Website), there must be information about all them different companies and persons he had such relationship, and other detailed background involvements not just of Zaki Azmi...but of all judges.

Was the throwing out of Munawar's appeal an indication of what we can expect of Zaki Azmi -- HOLD ON, let us wait and consider the reasons first before jumping into any conclusions..

The Federal Court today threw out an appeal by Munawar A Anees for his sodomy charge be remitted to the High Court so that he can argue his case.

Chief Justice Zaki Azmi, who sat with Federal Court judges Nik Hashim Nik Abdul Rahman and Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin, delivered an oral decision, stating that their written judgment would made known later. - Malaysiakini, 30/10/2008 - Court throws out Munawar's appeal

I was trying find some more information about the companies that Zaki Azmi owned or was involved in, and I came across Kim Quek's article in Asia Sentinel which was published sometime at the end of the 2007. It makes me wonder whether the removal of Zaki Azmi as Chief Justice may have become the most important judicial reform that we may need...

The PM may have wanted his as Chief Justice. The Conference of Rulers may have wanted him as the Chief Justice. But, for the sake of the Malaysian Judiciary, I would have expected any good independent person to have declined the appointment. Zaki Azmi did not and today is the Chief Justice of Malaya. So, do not come and say that he did not have a say in the matter...

As the scandal-ridden Ahmad Fairuz exits as Chief Justice, another dubious candidate is poised to take his place.

Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi’s sudden announcement of the appointment of Zaki Azmi to the second highest post in the judiciary — President of the Court of Appeal — must have jolted and dismayed many who have cherished hopes of judicial reforms following the reluctant retirement of Ahmad Fairuz Abdul Halim.

After all, Zaki Azmi, who had not spent a single day as a judge in the court of appeal or the high court, was parachuted to the nation’s highest court — the Federal Court — only three months ago. He has not even warmed his seat as a judge, and yet he now looks poised to succeed Chief Justice Abdul Hamid Mohamad five months from now when Hamid retires in April 2008 upon reaching 66 years of age. Both Zaki’s and Hamid’s appointments were simultaneously announced by the Prime Minister on Dec 5.

In fact, when Zaki was appointed a Federal Court judge in September, he was instantly recognized at home and abroad as the person planted to the highest court to succeed Fairuz, whose request for a six month extension of service beyond his mandatory retirement on Oct 31 was not accepted by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. Such instant recognition of Zaki’s mission came from his deep involvement with UMNO as a key party player. He was chairman of the party’s election committee, deputy chairman of its disciplinary board of appeal, party legal adviser etc.

As UMNO’s legal man, he was involved with the party’s myriad scandalous financial misadventures that were bailed out by the government in the heydays of former Prime Minister Mahathir’s crony-capitalism during the last Asian financial crisis. One prominent example is the RM 3 billion loan scam in the disastrous acquisition of Philippines’ National Steel Corp. (NS) by UMNO’s financial proxy Halim Saad. When the shares of NS became scrap, four top Malaysian banks were made to stomach the entire RM 3 billion losses. And Zaki was then adirector of the investment vehicle — Hottick Investment Ltd of Hong Kong — which borrowed the RM 3 billion and embarked on the acquisition of NS.

Apart from acting as UMNO’s nominee, Zaki also has held directorship in scores of major companies including some of the most well known names such as Berjaya, Metacorp, Pan Global, SP Setia, Malaysia Airports,Hume, Matsushita Electric, Pharmaniaga etc. Zaki was reported by Bernama on 21 April 2007 to have said that his 58% owned Emrail SdnBhd, a railway specialist company, had only the government as employer, and that he was earnestly soliciting contracts in the northern and southern portions of the double-tracking project to turn the cash-strapped Emrail around.

Such apolitical and business background would already have made him a poor candidate for any judicial appointment, Zaki is battered by yet another serious handicap — the question of his moral integrity arising from his controversial marriage and divorce from his second wife Nor Hayati Yahaya, who was half his age.

Zaki married Nor Hayati in a ceremony conducted by a minister from Thailand in a textile shop in Perlis in March 2005. They separated three months later. In the messy divorce that ensued, it was revealed that Zaki burned the original marriage certificate to hide the marriage from his first wife. Further, the marriage was ruled by the Syarah court as illegal.

Following the revelation of Zaki’s marital trouble, he resigned as deputy chairman of UMNO’s disciplinary board, for which he told the press: “Considering that members of the disciplinary board are of the highest integrity, I have made this decision following reports in the media …”

The question we must ask now is: If Zaki is morally unfit to serve in UMNO’s disciplinary board, how could he be considered morally fit to be a federal court judge, not to mention his lightning elevation to the No.2 position, and anticipated imminent rise to the top job in the judiciary?

Is this country so poor in legal talent and integrity that we have no choice but to appoint some one so glaringly unsuited for such important judicial position arising from his multiple conflicts of interests and questionable integrity? If not, then why did the Prime Minister make such a move? If it is not to advance the Prime Minister’s and UMNO’s interests, then what motivated such an appointment?

We have already seen in the infamous Lingam video clip how the former Chief Justice betrayed his oath of allegiance to the country and the Constitution by crawling to serve the parochial interests of his political and business masters, thus confirming the common knowledge of the depth of degradation our judiciary has sunk. While the Prime Minister and his cabinet is still dilly-dallying over the appointment of a proper royal commission of inquiry to probe into the Lingam tape scandal almost three months after its public display, are we now made to swallow another UMNO atrocity – the instant elevation of an UMNO stalwart in the nation’s highest court?

However,in the midst of despair over UMNO’s latest move, we detect something amiss in the prime minister’s announcement of this dual appointment (Hamid and Zaki). While the PM claimed that upon his advice these appointments were assented to by the king after consultation with the Council of Rulers, no effective date had been decided for Zaki’s appointment, while Hamid’s was fixed on Nov 1 — the day he started duty as Acting Chief Justice. Neither had any date been decided for the handing over of the appointment letters. If these dates had not been decided, why was PM in such a hurry to make an incomplete announcement?

Knowing that the King and the Council of Rulers had previously declined to accept nominees deemed inappropriate fill the vacancies of the President of Court of Appeal and Chief Judge of Malaya respectively, as well as having turned down Fairuz’ request to continue as chief justice, the suddenness of PM’s claim of royal assent — particularly in reference to Zaki’s controversial promotion — came as a surprise to many people. Did the king also assent to Zaki’s appointment? If so, why couldn’t Zaki’s date of appointment be also decided alongside with Hamid’s? Or was there a problem of royal assent?

Whatever the case may be in regards to Zaki’s appointment, it is pertinent to take serious note of the view expressed by the Sultan of Perak, Raja Azlan Shah, on public perception of judicial impartiality in his opening address to the 14th Malaysian Law Conference on October 29.

Raja Azlan Shah, one of the most illustrious Lord Presidents of Malaysia, said that the judiciary loses its value and service to the community if there is no public confidence in its decision-making. And the principal quality in judiciary is “impartiality”, which exists in two senses — the reality of impartiality and the appearance of impartiality. Of these two, the appearance of impartiality is the more important, the sultan said.

Taking cue from this observation, Zaki’s appointment is an unmitigated disaster, as even if he has the superhuman capability to totally severe his umbilical cord to the ruling party and his commercial interests to eliminate conflict of interests, there is still the insurmountable problem of public perception. With Zaki’s questionable background, there is no way he can command complete public confidence, particularly when the interests of UMNO or his businesses are involved.

Coming at a time when Malaysia’s competitiveness is fast losing ground,which has been contributed in no small way by its worsening judiciary image, such a daring raid on the sanctimonious ground of neutrality as the judiciary through planting a party stalwart to take over its control is destined to bring ruinous consequences to this country. Not even in the height of Mahathir’s autocracy would such a reckless adventure be contemplated.

Knowing UMNO’s arrogance and supreme confidence over its political hegemony, we do not think that it is open to advice from the public. We therefore earnestly appeal to the king and the Rulers to exert their benevolent influence empowered by the Constitution to protect our judiciary from further injury, as they have so valiantly done in the recent past.

Kim Quek comments regularly on Malaysian affairs. - Asia Sentinel, 7/12/2007 Malaysia's Judiciary: Here We Go Again

Would the most important Judicial Reform that the country require be the removal of Zaki Azmi as the Head of the Judiciary?

For me, one of the biggest problem is the shortage of judges and courts in Malaysia - and that is one major problem that has to be addressed immediately...Extreme pressure to speed-up matters are now resulting in courts striking off cases for technical reasons, etc - justice is not being done. Numbers and statistics is what most judges and courts have become concerned about --- not Justice..

In my earlier posts, I have discussed the kind of reforms that our Judiciary needs...

Abdullah Ahmad Badawi gave the indication that he was for Judicial Reforms - but alas his choice of the new Head of Judiciary makes us question whether his 'reforms' is anything like the kind of reforms that we are talking about.

Federal Court chief registrar Datuk Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat (as reported in New Straits Times, 20/9/2006), disclosed that the number of judges in the country was low compared with other Commonwealth nations. He was quoted as saying that the Malaysian ratio is "2.4 judges to a million people - a far cry from the ratio in India (10.5), Australia (57.1), Britain (50.1) and Canada (75)."

This really is the problem for the backlog and the delays in our courts, and the only solution is to increase the number of judges and courts in the country. Our population has increased, and grown in consciousness about legal rights and human rights. The number of lawyers has also increased to more than 12,000 in Peninsular Malaysia, and so too has the number of new law graduates coming out every year. Alas, the number of courts and judges have not increased at the same rate, and that is where the real problem lies.

What we need is to have more courts and more judges.- Charles Hector Blog


Born2Reign said...

There is no shortage of talent - for crooks. Bodowi is not bodoh, he selected the right evil judge to rule in favour of his cronies and UMNO cronies.

May God send a Moses to save Malaysia and the Red Sea to swallow up Pharoah and his men.

Anonymous said...

with his background, he is not even ashame of himself. gosh, CJ of the country? surely, there is a better candidate than him or after 2 decades of merit eradication by a man (who dares not even reveal his origins), this man despite his tainted past is the best candidate? God save this country.

MY New Dawn said...

Attorney General's Profile

The Honourable Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail
Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail was appointed as the eighth Attorney General of Malaysia on 1 January 2002.
His illustrious career began on 15 April 1980 with his appointment as a Deputy Public Prosecutor in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
In 1985, he was appointed as the Senior Federal Counsel for Sabah and held this post until his appointment as the Head of the Prosecution Division of the Attorney General’s Chambers on 16 January 1994.
His next appointments were as the Head of the Advisory and International Division in 1995 and the Commissioner of Law Revision in 1997. He was then appointed to a second tour of duty as the Head of the Prosecution Division in 2000.
Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail graduated from University Malaya (LLB. Hons.) in 1979. He was born on 6 October 1955 and is married to Puan Sri Maimon bt. Datuk Hj. Ariff.

Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail

Awards Received Bodies and Committees
1. Conferred the Kesatria Mangku Negara (KMN) : 14 April 1993
2. Conferred the Dato’ Paduka Mahkota Perlis (DPMP) which carries the title Dato’
: 01 July 1995
3. Conferred the Panglima Gemilang Darjah Kinabalu (PGDK) which carries the title Dato’
: 16 September 2001
4. Conferred the Seri Panglima Darjah Kinabalu (SPDK) which carries the title Datuk Seri Panglima
: 16 September 2002
5. Conferred the Ahli Yang Pertama (Seri Paduka) bagi Darjah Kebesaran Jiwa Mahkota Kelantan Yang Amat Mulia (SJMK) which carries the title Dato’
: 30 March 2003
6. Conferred the Pingat Setia Mahkota (PSM) which carries the title Tan Sri : 07 June 2003
7. Conferred the Darjah Kebesaran Datuk Setia Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah (SSIS) which carries the title Datuk Setia : 13 December 2003
8. Conferred the Darjah Gemilang Seri Melaka (DGSM) which carries the title Datuk Seri : 09 October 2004
9. Conferred the Panglima Mangku Negara (PMN) which carries the title Tan Sri
: 04 June 2005
10. Conferred the Darjah Sri Sultan Ahmad Shah Pahang (SSAP) which carried the title Datuk Seri : 24 October 2005
Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail is the Chairman of Malaysian Kuwaiti Investment , Legal Profession Qualifying Board of Malaysian and the National Higher Education Council.
He is also a member of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission, Pardons Board of States in the Federation and the Federal Territories, Management Board of the Judicial and Legal Training Institute, Advisory Panel, Central Bank of Malaysia, Cabinet Committee of the Reorganisation of Mimos and a member of the Board of

Website -

Anak Perelih said...

I see this Zaki appointment as Pak Lah giving Najib problems in the future.. As people will get angry with Zaki's appointment and decisions... they will not vote UMNO/BN in the next election... thus giving Najib headache... and demoted to be the opposition leader in Parliament.. anyway... according to RAHMAN tehory, Najib will be the last of BN's PM...