by Dr Kamal Amzan
The Malaysian Insider
Jan 11, 2012
JAN 11 — We are a funny lot.
Just because of one acquittal, we claim to have an “independent” judiciary. Forget about Eric Chia, forget about the first sodomy trial, forget about what happened to Teoh Beng Hock and let us all just focus on this one and only trial.
From the mainstream media to the online news portals, the response from the government and the opposition leaders to the verdict was akin to striking the lottery.
Today’s headlines in the Star and NST, “Government says it shows freedom of judiciary”, “Slow reassertion of Malaysia’s public institutions”, “Court ruling clears government of baseless accusations.”.
Really? I may be wrong but to claim the judiciary’s independence from one trial verdict seems a bit premature, no?
Why is this verdict such a landmark one… that the entire judiciary’s independence is based on it? Or is it because the verdict went against the establishment that we feel it is independent and free?
In case you haven’t realised, going against the establishment seems to be the “in” thing nowadays. It has been demonstrated by students from UPSI whose tuition fees are borne by us, the taxpayers. They became overnight heroes to some for their so-called “courage”, no matter how misplaced that was.
In as much as I wonder what their grades are like, and whether we should have such individuals teaching our children, I also wonder whether the rakyat will still claim judicial independence when and IF the appellate court overturns the verdict later? Less we forget, the AG has the power to appeal.
Or will we cry conspiracy then?
I ask because I think it is too early to celebrate. Mind you, this is not a perfect science, because only science expects predictable, reproducible results time and again. This is the judiciary.
Malaysian judiciary at that.
Just like winning the SEA Games does not make our Harimau Malaya Olympic champions, one unexpected verdict means nothing in the long run, nor should we start exclaiming judicial independence based on it.
We should be cautiously optimistic, and not lose sight of the real goal. Guilty or innocent, the future of this country does not lie with one man and our progress should not be hindered by the verdict.
It is time we move on. Let the politicians politicise. Malaysians should do what we do best all this while; work hard for our family and by extension the nation. We must keep level heads, be logical and not let our emotions run high. Nothing, and no one should distract us from building and developing this nation of 28 million.
Failing which is detrimental to our own future.