Archive for category Judiciary
By Kee Thuan Chye
8th March 2014
The buzz is all over town. And most probably outside of the country too. Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim has been found guilty by the Court of Appeal of sodomising Saiful Bukhari Azlan in 2008.
The High Court acquitted him of the charge in January 2012, but the Attorney-General appealed. Now it looks like Anwar’s luck has run out. The famous Sodomy 2 case has caught up with him this time.
The judge has sentenced him to five years’ imprisonment. Although Anwar’s lawyers have straight away filed notice of appeal to the Federal Court, his conviction should disqualify him from standing in the upcoming Kajang by-election, which had come about when the incumbent state assemblyman, Lee Chin Cheh, stepped down to actually pave the way for Anwar to contest – as part of the so-called Kajang Move engineered by PKR strategist Rafizi Ramli with the long-term view of possibly making Anwar menteri besar in order to prepare Selangor as the launchpad for Pakatan Rakyat to take Putrajaya.
What happens to that now? Read the rest of this entry »
IGP Khalid and AG Gani must explain why they have abdicated from their responsibility to uphold the rule of law and preserve the peace in Malaysia in allowing Perkasa to break laws and commit breaches of peace outside Federal Court
It has been reported that the 500-odd people mobilised by Perkasa outside the Federal Court in Putrajaya this morning hearing the appeal on the use of the term ‘Allah’ turned unruly and threw objects at the front-door of the Palace of Justice, with many trying to breach the police barrier and enter the court building.
This is the report from The Malaysian Insider by Jennifer Gomez entitled “Perkasa supporters upset by church lawyers, try to get into courthouse”:
“The crowd outside the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya turned unruly just before the Federal Court stood down with many trying to breach the police barrier and enter the court building.
“Shouting and screaming, some members in the crowd threw a microphone and water bottle at the glass door entrance to the building.
“The crowd was 4m from the main door as police stood guard.
“Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali said that the crowd advanced towards the main glass door of the Palace of Justice as they had got word that Catholic Church lawyers questioned why the use of the word ‘Allah’ by Christians was being made an issue now when it had been in use in the weekly Herald for 14 years prior to 2009.
“’The supporters heard that this was the submission made by the Catholic Church lawyer, so they got upset.’ He added that no one had instructed them to advance.”
Karpal’s sedition conviction has brought Malaysia back under international radar as a “rogue nation” in its system of justice
DAP National Chairman and MP for Bukit Gelugor Karpal Singh’s sedition conviction has brought Malaysia back under the international radar as a “rogue nation” in its system of justice.
When a veteran political leader and senior lawyer could be convicted of sedition for stating the law and giving his opinion on the 2008 constitutional crisis in Perak as there was a belief by certain quarters that the rulers enjoyed immunity and no legal action could be taken against them, Malaysia has undone all the “puny” efforts in the past decade to restore national and international respect and confidence in a truly independent judiciary and a just rule of law in Malaysia.
The convergence of recent events, with blatant examples of the police and the Attorney-General’s Chambers involved in a series of unprofessional activities and selective prosecutions, have not helped in restoring public esteem in the independence, efficiency and integrity of these two key institutions – and the judiciary – in the nation’s system of justice. Read the rest of this entry »
by P Ramakrishnan
21 February 2014
What is important in any hearing is fairness to the accused. But certain judges don’t seem to be very bothered about this principle, says P Ramakrishnan.
The survival of Umno in the forthcoming GE14 is hanging by a thread. By all counts, it may be the end of the road for the party that has dominated Malaysian politics for more than half a century.
Umno is aware of this. And that is why it is desperately trying to put Anwar Ibrahim away to save its skin. A free Anwar will sound the death-knell for Umno.
Politically it may not succeed in its attempt to do away with Anwar because his influence is wide and far-reaching. He is seen by the majority of Malaysians as the only hope of toppling Umno from its power base – which will pave the way for an alternative government.
All the lies that Umno has concocted against Anwar have not made any impact on the people. This approach has been tried since 1998 – to tarnish his reputation and smear his image – but every attempt failed miserably. People have wised up to the tricks and manipulations resorted to by Umno at every opportunity and during elections, but such ploys have had no effect to benefit Umno.
Moreover, the people are aware that Umno is no longer the sole mouth-piece for the Malays. Pas and Keadilan are equally capable of representing the Malays far more effectively when compared to Umno. To add to their headache, the Malays are even turning to the DAP and supporting their candidates. Clearly, it is a losing battle for Umno. Read the rest of this entry »
Liong Sik’s allegation reinforces my call for RCI to get to the bottom of the RM12.5 billion “mother of all scandals”
The allegation by former MCA President and former Transport Minister, Tun Dr. Ling Liong Sik that he was “wrongly accused” and charged of corruption in the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal even before the Attorney-General’s Chambers had obtained sufficient evidence reinforces my call for a Royal Commission of Inquiry to get to the bottom of the RM12.5 billion “mother of all scandals”.
In an interview yesterday, Ling, who was acquitted last October, of all charges of corruption in connection with the PKFZ scandal, revealed that he is writing a book about his PKFZ “trials and tribulations” and had decided on the title of the book: “How Low Can You Go”.
Ling said that due to his bad experience, his confidence in the country’s judicial system was shaken.
Ling sounds very self-serving and even hypocritical as he must bear full responsibility for the state of the system of justice in Malaysia today, as he was part of the Mahathir government which precipitated the judicial crisis in 1988 when the then Lord President Tun Salleh Abas and two Supreme Court judges, Tan Sri Wan Suleiman Pawanteh and Datuk George Seah were arbitrarily and unconstitutionally sacked. Malaysia has never yet recovered from that judicial crisis 26 years ago. Read the rest of this entry »
By Kee Thuan Chye
All Malaysiakini asked for was publish a daily newspaper in English of 40,000 copies to be sold only in the Klang Valley. But this was not acceptable to the Home Ministry, which rejected its application in August 2010. Why? What was the Government afraid of?
Sure, as an online news website, Malaysiakini had distinguished itself as a provider of news that the mainstream media often hid from the public for fear of offending the Government, and it had won tremendous support from truth-starved Malaysians who wanted to get “the other side of the story”, the side that exposed the Government’s shenanigans and deceptions. But the number of copies it was asking for its print version was relatively low, and with its distribution restricted to the Klang Valley, where there is a concentration of supporters of the Opposition, the newspaper would be mostly preaching to the converted anyway.
Besides, it was entering a market in which English-language newspapers owned by ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties, like The Star and New Straits Times, were already long entrenched and wielding considerable influence on their readers.
In any case, the Home Ministry did not give any grounds for rejecting Malaysiakini’s application. But when Malaysiakini brought the case to the High Court for a judicial review, the Minister had to state his reasons in an affidavit.
The case was heard in October 2012. The Government’s lawyer submitted that the granting of a publication permit was a privilege, not a right. But the judge disagreed. Read the rest of this entry »
Liow Tiong Lai only interested in competing with Chua Soi Lek for Liong Sik’s MCA delegates’ vote-bank rather than striving for a new political culture of public integrity with zero tolerance for corruption
Either the MCA Deputy President Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai does not understand simple English (which has become quite commonplace at all levels of the Barisan Nasional political structure) or he is just being deliberately obtuse because he has a political axe to grind.
What is this political axe for Tiong Lai to “grind”? What else but competing with MCA President Datuk Chua Soi Lek for Tun Dr. Ling Liong Sik’s MCA delegates’ vote-bank in the upcoming MCA party elections in December rather than striving for a new political culture of public integrity with zero tolerance for corruption.
I do not think my statement entitled “Duo message of 2014 Budget – Malaysia continues to be land of ‘heinous crime without criminals’ and Ministers enjoy immunity and impunity for Ministerial dereliction of duties” on the Kuala Lumpur High Court’s acquittal and discharge of Liong Sik for cheating the government over the multi-billion ringgit Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) project scandal is so complex or difficult to understand as to confound Tiong Lai. Read the rest of this entry »
by Tommy Thomas
Oct 24, 2013
COMMENT A simple way to illustrate the point that the measure of protection given in the federal constitution may be absolute or limited is to compare the language employed in Articles 10 and 11.
Article 10 protects freedom of speech, assembly and association. But Parliament may, by law, restrict the rights under Article 10, whereas Parliament cannot enact any law to restrict or curtail the freedom of religion under Article 11(1) and (3).
This difference in text between Articles 10 and 11 means that persons who belong to, say, a chess club or a sports association, would come within the purview of Article 10, while members of a religious group would come within the scope of Article 11.
Because Article 11 is drafted in much broader terms than Article 10, members of religious groups enjoy a far greater measure of constitutional protection than members of a chess club or a sports association.
Conversely, state action can control, direct and regulate a chess club and a sports association much more than it can over a religious group. Additionally, only citizens enjoy Article 10 rights, whereas no such limitation occurs under Article 11.
In stating this position, Article 11(5) is not to be overlooked. But Article 11(5) does not permit Parliament to enact laws to restrict freedom. It merely provides that in the enjoyment of religious freedom, whether individually under Article 11(1) or collectively under 11(3), a person or a religious group should not carry out any act which could contravene any general law relating to “public order, public health or morality”. Read the rest of this entry »
by Tommy Thomas
Oct 23, 2013
COMMENT The sustained public attack on last week’s decision of the Court of Appeal in prohibiting the Catholic Church from using the word ‘Allah’ in its internal publication, The Herald, is absolutely unprecedented, even in a nation used to bad court decisions.
From a constitutional perspective, the judgments of the three judges on the bench are poorly reasoned, the law misread and conclusions reached which will baffle any right-thinking student anywhere in the common law.
The decision is not just wrong, it is horribly wrong, and represents a terrible blot on our legal landscape, unless overturned quickly by the apex court, the Federal Court. Regrettably, what follows may seem unduly legalistic, but it cannot be avoided in a critique of a court decision. Read the rest of this entry »
by Elizabeth Zachariah
The Malaysian Insider
October 24, 2013
Malaysia will be a better place if politicians “stop politicising religion and academic matters” and leave both issues to the relevant parties to decide, says ex-Perlis mufti Datuk Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin.
“People are confused. If they (politicians) had, from the beginning, followed this principle, then Malaysia will not be in this position,” he told The Malaysian Insider, referring to the chorus of criticism the country has been receiving following the Allah decision.
Last week, a three-man Court of Appeal bench unanimously overturned the 2009 Kuala Lumpur High Court ruling that allowed the Catholic Church to use the word “Allah” in its weekly publication, Herald.
Muslim scholars and clerics worldwide have criticised the ban, pointing out that the word predates Islam and was a word that meant God in Arabic.
Asri, a 42-year-old Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) associate professor and known to supporters as the “voice of reason” and to critics as a “promoter of liberalism”, is one of those who had condemned the ban on Allah for non-Muslims.
He had previously said that as long as the word Allah was used to refer to “the Most Supreme Being”, the non-Muslims could use the word.
“So actually it is a non-issue. Muslims believe in one God. So how can we say your God is different from mine?” he had said before.
In an interview with The Malaysian Insider recently, Asri said it is ridiculous if they say the word is exclusive to Muslims.
“Civilisations that practised tolerance prospered and stayed as a society much longer than those that did not.” Read the rest of this entry »
Oct 23, 2013
Malaysia’s self-styled image as a global leader of moderate Islam has been undermined by a court ruling that only Muslims can use the word ‘Allah’ to refer to God, with a growing number of Muslim scholars and commentators condemning the decision.
A Malaysian court ruled last week that the word was “not an integral part of the faith in Christianity”, overturning a previous ruling that allowed a Malay-language Roman Catholic newspaper to use the word.
Since then, confusion has reigned over the interpretation of the ruling, with government ministers, lawyers and Muslim authorities giving widely diverging views on its scope.
Critics of the decision have said it casts a chill on religious rights in Muslim-majority Malaysia, which has substantial minorities of ethnic Chinese and Indians.
Commentators in some countries that practice Islam more strictly than Malaysia have condemned the ruling, arguing that the word ‘Allah’ has been used by different faiths for centuries. Read the rest of this entry »
by Elizabeth Zachariah and Yiswaree Palansamy
The Malaysian Insider
October 22, 2013
Muslim MPs from PAS and PKR as well as educational organisations have spoken out against the practice of carrying out ritual slaughter in schools during the recent Hari Raya Aidiladha celebrations.
PAS Kuala Krai MP Dr Mohd Hatta Ramli said any school should be off limits for the slaughter of animals.
“Be it religious schools, ethnic-based schools or national schools,” said Dr Hatta.
“In the truest nature of observing the holy Qurban, there is no need to openly slaughter animals in the presence of others, especially in an area where people of other faith reside, work or carry out activities,” he added, referring to the Arabic word for sacrificial slaughter. Read the rest of this entry »
by V. Anbalagan
The Malaysian Insider
October 21, 2013
There appears to be a conscious effort by Putrajaya to dilute the Court of Appeal ruling on the Allah issue, an approach driven by fear of losing further support among East Malaysians, say constitutional lawyers.
Speaking to The Malaysian Insider, the lawyers said Putrajaya was in “damage control” mode as the Court of Appeal ruling had far-reaching implications, having caused an uproar among non-Muslims.
Earlier today, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak told an audience in Sabah that East Malaysian Christians are free to use the word Allah in their worship and publications, including the Al-Kitab, which is the Bahasa Malaysia bible. Read the rest of this entry »
NEWS ANALYSIS BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
October 21, 2013
Time for some honesty. Twenty-five years ago when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad dismantled one of the most respected judicial institutions in the Commonwealth and destroyed the concept of separation of powers in Malaysia, how many Malaysians were truly upset with his interference?
Not disappointed or perturbed, but truly upset.
Think back to the sacking of Tun Salleh Abas in 1988 and the suspension of Tan Sri Azmi Kamaruddin, Tan Sri Eusoffe Abdoolcader, Tan Sri Wan Hamzah Mohamed Salleh, Tan Sri Wan Suleiman Pawan Teh and Datuk George Seah.
Think back to the constitutional amendments pummelled through Parliament by Dr Mahathir, changes which essentially divested the judiciary of some of its powers.
No shame in admitting that the incident called the judicial crisis of 1988 barely registered a blip on the radar of most Malaysians. Read the rest of this entry »
by Desmond Davidson
The Malaysian Insider
October 20, 2013
Christian worshippers recited the word Allah as they fulfilled their Sunday obligation across churches in Sarawak today, shrugging off a court ruling that said the Arabic word for God was not central to their faith.
At the St Columbas Anglican church in Miri this morning, the native faithful intoned the words Allah Taala in Iban, God Almighty in English, as they have been doing all their life.
Parishioners who attended the 7am Iban service were reminded during sermon that there would be no change in the way prayers are said and that the church would continue using the word Allah.
The priest, referring to the statement made by Archbishop Datuk Bolly Lapok earlier this week, said the church would “continue to reverently worship their Allah until the Kingdom comes”. Read the rest of this entry »
By Kee Thuan Chye
Firebombs didn’t go off in mosques. Pigs’ heads were not thrown into mosque compounds. These things did not happen after the Court of Appeal ruled against the High Court’s 2009 decision to allow the Catholic weekly newspaper The Herald to use the word ‘Allah’ in referring to God.
They did not happen despite Muslim group Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia’s adding insult to injury by telling Christians to accept the verdict or leave the country. Its president, Abdullah Zaik Abdul Rahman, said, “They can choose to move to another country if they cannot accept the supremacy of Islam and the royalty that protects the supremacy of the religion.” It was irrelevant, uncalled-for and provocative, but the community that was targeted did not retaliate with violence. This of course is to its credit.
It did, however, react angrily to the verdict. Rev Eu Hong Seng, chairman of the Christian Federation of Malaysia, declared: “This is yet another erosion and infringement of the constitutional protection to the freedom of religious communities to profess and practise their faith and to manage their own affairs. The decision might encourage and fuel further misunderstanding and mistrust between the Muslim and Christian communities which will further undermine the unity of Malaysians.” Read the rest of this entry »
by V Anbalagan
The Malaysian Insider
October 19, 2013
All Malaysians are bound by the Court of Appeal ruling on the Allah issue, says former attorney general Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman, who is puzzled that Putrajaya believes the controversial judgment does not affect Christians in Sabah and Sarawak.
The appellate court agreed that the Home Minister could ban the word Allah in the Catholic weekly Herald, but two Cabinet ministers had insisted the decision did not include the Al-Kitab, the Bahasa Malaysia bible widely used in Sabah and Sarawak, and other Christian publications in East Malaysia.
“It has the effect of a binding precedent and all have to respect that decision, whether you agree or disagree,” he told The Malaysian Insider, adding it was binding until set aside by the country’s highest court, the Federal Court.
Abu Talib, who was the chief legal adviser to the government for 13 years from 1980, said there could be no two sets of law when “we have one nation and one supreme constitution”.
“So, there cannot be exemptions given to Sabah and Sarawak on this religious issue based on region or state,” he said.
Abu Talib said this in response to Cabinet ministers Tan Sri Joseph Kurup and Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili who had taken the position that Christians in the Borneo states were not affected by the appellate court ruling on Monday and could use the word in their religious practices. Read the rest of this entry »
Mohamed Hanipa Maidin
Oct 17, 2013
MP SPEAKS Freedom of religion as enshrined in Article 11 of the federal constitution has never been absolute. Nowithstanding that, the constitution definitely allows Christians to use ‘Allah’ in their Catholic weekly publication The Herald.
Thus, it is indeed shocking to learn that the Court of Appeal unanimously invoked the constitutional ground to affirm the decision of the home minister in preventing The Herald from using the word Allah in its publication.
As far as I am concerned, the issue is rather simple and straightforward, namely whether Allah exclusively belongs to Muslims. If the answer is in the affirmative, then it is the end of the matter.
In other words the Christians or other religious adherents do not have any constitutional right to use Allah’s name. The rule is so simple – you cannot claim any right which is not yours in the first place.
Truth to be told, Allah is not the exclusive possession of any Muslim. The non-exclusivity of Allah to the Muslims is in fact derived from the Muslim’s main sources of guidance, which are the Quran and the hadith. Read the rest of this entry »
— Clive Kessler
The Malay Mail Online
October 16, 2013
OCT 16 — The more I think about the Court of Appeal’s recent judgment in the case of the government’s appeal against the lower court’s determination in favour of The Herald, the crazier, and more infuriatingly wrong-headed, it seems.
The legal reasoning of Justice Mohamad Apandi Ali seems not just “innovative” but arguably bizarre and, to the historically minded, even absurd. It seems hardly sustainable.
It rests upon and promotes the radical idea that the enjoyment by minorities of their religious freedom “in peace and harmony” was, as a form of words, not intended as a constitutional guarantee or assurance to them but as a way of making that freedom of theirs subject to the pleasure, discretion and the inflationary whims of the majority.
With that “contrarian” spin, these words are now made to serve as the practically enabling condition or mechanism of the minority’s subordinate and infinitely ever more constrainable situation.
That is to say, of a situation where the exercise of any of the potential freedoms of religious conscience that the minority might claim is now to be made conditional upon continuing, and always revocable, majority consent — upon the majority’s increasingly reluctant and unlikely forbearance. Read the rest of this entry »
Oct 16, 2013
COMMENT The Malaysian Bar is deeply concerned by the decision of the Court of Appeal delivered on Oct 14, 2013 in what is commonly referred to as the ‘Herald’ or ‘Allah’ case.
The concerns arise from the court’s interpretation of Article 3(1) of the federal constitution on the status of Islam and other religions and Article 11(1) and (4) on the fundamental right to profess and practice a religion.
Any interpretation of the constitution must invite the greatest scrutiny as it impacts on the fundamental freedoms guaranteed to all citizens. Read the rest of this entry »