Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Village chiefs from Perak or PR chosen Village Chiefs? Lost in High Court but there is still the appeal...

If the community elected the leaders of their community, then they are the legitimate leaders of that kampung, kampung baru, residential area, etc.. and nobody has any right not acknowledging them as the community leaders....not the Local Council, not the State Government, not the Federal Government.

Hence, that leaders of kampungs, kampung barus, etc that were elected by the people of the respective areas must be recognized by whatever it the PR or BN government as the legitimate leaders of the said villages... In Perak some 400 over leaderrs of kampungs and 1 kampung baru were elected as such...and the current State Government or the court have no right whatsoever to not respect the decision and choices of the people. I am sure the people is going to be very angry...and that newly 'appointed' heads will not have the support of the majority of the people of the community.

But with regard to those chosen and appointed by the Local Council, District Office, State Government and the Federal Government, they are nothing short of being mere political appointees - and such there is no big deal if a subsequent Local Council, District Office, State Government and the Federal Government just appoints their own person to the post when they come into power..

That is why I have been advocating total democracy at all levels especially at the lowest levels of the community structure. There should be elections and the local community should choose their own leaders...and then all that the State could purely acknowledge this choice of the people. The people of the community will choose their own person as their leader, and many a time political affliation, religion, etc are not so much a consideration as getting the best leader for their own community.

That is why I have been pushing at least the Pakatan Rakyat governed states to give back to the people to elect and choose their own kampung, kampung baru, taman, kampung orang asli,...leaders. To assist the process of democratization, the State can propose constitutions for these communities suggesting term of office, necessary portfolios, accounting requirements, frequency of general meetings per year, etc...and it will be up to the people to adopt in unchanged or make the necessary amendments as they please.

The recent court decision of village chiefs has much to be desired. The court should have distinguished the 2 categories of leaders, i.e. those that have been elected by the people of the community and then acknowledged by the State by an 'appointment', and those that have just been chosen and appointed by the State government. The court should have gone to look into the question as to who should be choosing leaders - the community or the State government, and rightfully it should be respective communities, and State governments should have no choice but to deqal with these people elected leaders.

Further, we see that it was a Judicial Commissioner who decided that case. These are 'judges in probation', normally on a 2 year contract, and it is not at all certain that they will be elevated to become judges, a power that rest with the PM (currently a UMNO led- BN man), Head of the Judiciary, ..and the Yang Di-Pertuan Agung. [Real power lies with the PM]

Judicial Commissioners do not enjoy the safeguards like security of tenure to ensure real independence. Judicial Commissioner, hence wisely may have to 'play-ball' with whoever is in government if they want to to get appointed as Judges. Judicial Commissioners were created after the 1988 Judicial Crisis, and it is a way for the UMNO-led BN to ensure that they get 'their' people appointed as Judges. People should be directly appointed as Judges, with all the necessary safeguards to ensure the Independence of the Judiciary. We must get rid of these 'Judicial Commissioners' once and for all.

I wonder whether a Judge would have given a same decision. Maybe yes, if he/she has ambitions to be elevated to become a Court of Appeal Judge or a Federal Court Judge under the UMNO led-BN rule. That is why we also need an Independent Commission to select and even elevate Judges in Malaysia.

The High Court here has dismissed with costs the application by Pakatan Rakyat-appointed village chiefs to quash their sacking.

]Judicial Commissioner Ridwan Ibrahim conceded that theirs was a political appointment.

“Being a political appointment, the new state government has the right to re-appoint whoever it thinks is suitable,” he said, in reading from his written judgment.

Noting that the court was not a proper entity to look into the decision of the executive, Ridwan said the decision to appoint village chiefs must be respected.

On the legitimate expectations raised by the plaintiff, Ridwan said the appointment was conditional and it was not absolute.

“In this respect, when they were appointed, they should expect that one day if there is a change in political power, their position need not necessarily be kept or continued,” he said.

Met by reporters later, Leong Cheok Keng, the lawyer representing the plaintiffs said they would file an appeal with the Court of Appeal.

On May 26, Mohd Ridzuan Asit, the former village chief of Kampung Sungai Ati in Padang Rengas, filed an application on behalf of 816 others to quash their sacking.

Besides seeking damages, Mohd Ridzuan, 43, also wanted a mandamus order to reinstate him and the other village chiefs to their posts.

He claimed that the group was elected as village chiefs on Aug 7 last year and had carried out their duties at all material times.

He also claimed that while the state government had assured them that they would be retained as village chiefs, their services were, without reason, terminated on April 16.

Their termination, he added, was against the terms of their appointment because it was executed before the expiry of their tenure. - Star, 2/12/2009, Court dismisses Pakatan Rakyat village chiefs’ bid to quash sacking

Are they village chiefs from Perak....or are they Pakatan Rakyat village chiefs?  If elected by the local community, they are village chiefs from Perak... but if they were selected and appointed by the Pakatan Rakyat government, then they are Pakatan Rakyat village chiefs...not really people chosen people elected village chiefs and leaders.

Should the court look into the decision of the executives - yes, it should. The Judiciary is the 3rd branch of a government in a democracy, and one of its functions is also to look into decisions of the executive - they call this Judicial Review. 

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