Archive for category Judiciary

MALAYSIA: AS THE ECONOMY WEAKENS, AUTHORITARIANISM CREEPS IN

by Nithin Coca
Equal Times
2 June 2015

First, it was the opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. Then, senior journalists and editors at the country’s top independent media website.

Bloggers followed, even a political cartoonist.

Over several months, Malaysia’s leaders have, piece-by-piece, used colonial-era laws to turn the country, long considered one of the shining lights of south-east Asia, firmly towards authoritarianism.

“Over the past year, the government has harassed, targeted and even imprisoned a wide range of individuals considered possible ‘threats’ – including opposition politicians, human rights defenders, lawyers and journalists,” said Josef Benedict, Asia-Pacific Campaigner for Amnesty International, based in Malaysia’s capital city of Kuala Lumpur.

Behind this unprecedented crackdown are signs of a ruling party losing grip on power, as its rule, built on an economy dependent on natural resource exports and a fragile racial and religious balance, threatens to unravel. Read the rest of this entry »

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Anwar Ibrahim’s conviction lowers the bar on the Malaysian legal system

Amanda Whiting, University of Melbourne
East Asia Forum
13 April 2015

These are dangerous times for the rule of law in Malaysia. The Federal Court’s decision on 10 February 2015 to affirm Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s criminal conviction for ‘carnal intercourse against the order of nature’ is shocking, but entirely predictable.

For a while, it seemed that domestic and international condemnation of the harassment of Anwar and the political misuse of draconian laws against opposition politicians and social activists had worked to improve Malaysia’s legal system. The United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) government appeared to have taken on board the response to the 1998–2004 ‘Sodomy I’ legal proceedings against Anwar, and broader criticisms of its authoritarian rule. But the ‘Sodomy II’ proceedings and their aftermath suggest otherwise. Read the rest of this entry »

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Let Khalid reveal who were the police officers sent to Sydney to question Sirul and when to prove Sirul was wrong in accusing the IGP of lying

The Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar is on the losing side in his spat with former police commando, convicted murderer of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu and fugitive in Australia, Sirul Azhar Umar.

Sirul had accused the IGP of lying when the police chief said that he had sent his men to Australia to meet the fugitive.

Sirul, who is currently held in the immigration detention centre in Villawood, Sydney, has categorically denied this in his phone interview with Malaysiakini, declaring unequivocally:

“Let me tell you, there were no officers or police personnel who met me in Australia.

“He (IGP) is lying to the police force and lying to the public with his claims, and is trying to protect his boss.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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Vohrah: Whistleblower judge should be compensated

By Hafiz Yatim
Malaysiakini
Apr 2, 2015

The government should compensate whistleblower judge Syed Ahmad Idid Syed Abdullah Idid, said former Court of Appeal judge KC Vohrah.

Syed Ahmad Idid was forced to resign after making revelations of wrongdoing in the judiciary in 1996.

Vohrah, now a consultant with law firm Lee, Hishammuddin, Allen and Gledhill, also commended Malaysiakini for highlighting Syed Ahmad Idid’s plight after so many years.

“Syed Ahmad Idid deserves it (compensation),” he told Malaysiakini recently in response to an interview this news portal had with Syed Ahmad Idid, a former High Court judge last month.

Syed Ahmad Idid in that interview had commended the revelations made by Vohrah in an article for the Court of Appeal, Malaysia, 1994-2014, 20th Anniversary book, published last year.

Syed Ahmad Idid had said he felt vindicated with Vohrah’s exposure. Read the rest of this entry »

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Amendment to Motion of Thanks to direct the PAC and the Police to immediately investigate the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal without waiting for Auditor General’s Report on 1MDB

There are many other issues which explain why Malaysia is now teetering on a crisis as a result of the economic and political gridlock paralyzing the country.

As time does not permit a discussion of all these issues, I will just quickly refer to some of them:

* Malaysia’s reputation as a country safe for investors received a grievious blow when a series of judicial decisions raised national and international questions as to whether Malaysia had restored its previous high international repute for a truly independent judiciary and just rule of law because of the following cases:

i. the Federal Court’s 5-0 unanimous decision to dismiss Anwar Ibrahim’s appeal and five-year jail sentence in Sodomy II trial;

ii. the Federal Court’s decision to convict and sentence to death former police commando Azila Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar for the 2006 murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu, while leaving completely open the question of motive for the murder and who had ordered Azila and Sirul to murder Altantuya;

iii. the expose by retired Court of Appeal judge Justice K.C. Vohrah that former Chief Justice Eusoff Chin had caused a miscarriage of justice in the infamous Ayer Molek Rubber Company vs Insas Bhd case two decades ago;
iv.the black-listing, discrimination and continued by-passing of Court of Appeal judge Justice Mohamad Hishamudin Mohd Yunus from elevation to the Federal Court;

v. the victimization of the country’s first judicial whistleblower, former High Court judge Datuk Syed Ahmad Idid, who was penalized instead of being rewarded. Read the rest of this entry »

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Country should make reparations and restore justice and honour to former High Court judge Datuk Syed Ahmad Idid, the country’s first judicial whistleblower who was victimized and punished instead of being rewarded for his act of supreme loyalty to his oath of office as a judge

The country should make reparations and restore justice and honour to former High Court judge Datuk Syed Ahmad Idid Syed Abdullah Idid, the country’s first judicial whistleblower who was victimized and punished instead of being rewarded for his act of supreme loyalty to his oath of office as a judge.

If Syed Ahmad Idid’s whistleblowing in March 1996 had been heeded, resulting in thorough investigations and root-and-branch reform of the judiciary 19 years ago, Malaysian judges, lawyers and citizens would have been able to stand tall in the world today because we would have a judiciary nationally and internationally respected for its independence, integrity and quality!

Now, Malaysian judiciary in 2015 is back in the dock of public opinion, both inside the country and internationally, over the independence, integrity and professionalism of its judiciary and its commitment to a just rule of law because of four cases this year, viz: Read the rest of this entry »

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The release of Nik Raina

Azrul Mohd Khalib
The Malay Mail Online
MARCH 4, 2015

MARCH 4 — To say that it had been an emotional morning would be an understatement. The judge had just delivered his ruling and Nik Raina’s head had turned sharply to the back to glance at her boss. Everyone in that courtroom pretty much expected an application by the prosecutor for another lengthy six-month sojourn of the Nik Raina-Borders case to be granted, depriving her yet again of reprieve and justice.

Discharge of the charges was certainly not what anyone expected to hear that day in the Shariah courtroom.

Just a moment before, everyone had heard the response from the prosecutor to lawyer Rosli Dahlan’s impassioned plea on behalf of Nik Raina for compassion, kindness and understanding from the court. To correct an injustice which had been inflicted and sustained for three years.

It was her problem, the prosecutor responded, if she felt that she had suffered humiliation, embarrassment and anguish as a result of this case.

He continued by saying that her decision to take the case to the civil court amounted to disrespect of the Shariah court system and that her actions resulted in the prolonging of the case. Basically that it was Nik Raina’s own fault that it had come to three years since that fateful day in 2012. Read the rest of this entry »

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Will the Cabinet continue the traditional three monkeys role of “eyes that see not, ears that hear not and mouths that speak not” or will they take the bull by the horn to address the three issues which dominate public opinion in past week?

Just before midnight, a Cabinet Minister tweeted that he had just left his constituency which is about three hours’ drive from Kuala Lumpur: “Need to read cabinet papers after I reach home. Tmr morning cabinet meeting as usual.”

My first thought was whether the Cabinet papers would include the thousands of 1MDB transactions and email which 1MDB had tried to “wipe” clean from their computers and servers at the end of last year.

Will the Cabinet papers for all Ministers for the Cabinet meeting later this morning cover at least the three issues which had dominated public opinion in Malaysia in the past week, or will it be another Cabinet meeting to avoid and skirt important national issues like the infamous past Cabinet meetings?

First Issue. Leading the three important issues which should dominate a meaningful Cabinet meeting today is undoubtedly the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal, which has been blown wide open by the joint London Sunday Times/Sarawak Report investigations and access to thousands of transactions and email of 1MDB despite abrupt attempts by 1MDB at the end of last year to call in all of its computers, employee laptops and servers to wipe them clean of all emails.

Will the Cabinet end its traditional three monkey stance of “eyes that see not, ears that hear not and mouths that speak not” on the 1MDB scandal for the past six years, take the bull by the horn and decide either to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry headed by former Law Minister Datuk Mohd Zaid Ibrahim or other independent credible Malaysians or give support for a full-scale Public Accounts Committee (PAC) public inquiry into the 1MDB scandal? Read the rest of this entry »

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The Chief Justice Malaysia never had!

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Arifin Zakaria should explain whether the Ayer Molek case is one reason why Justice Hishammuddin has been denied elevation to the Federal Court twice – a case of former CJ Eusoffe Chin exacting his final vengeance

Chief Justice Arifin Zakaria, who is also Chairman of the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC), should explain whether the controversial Ayer Molek Rubber Company vs Insas Bhd case is one reason why Justice Mohd Hishamudin Mohd Yunus has been by-passed twice and denied elevation to the Federal Court, the first time in September 2013 and the second time in the latest batch of judicial elevations this year – a case of former Chief Justice Tun Eusoffe Chin exactly his final vengeance.

Arifin owes not only the local and international legal and jurist community, but the whole nation, a proper and satisfactory explanation as a series of recent cases and events have put the Malaysian judiciary in the dock as to its ability to uphold a truly independent judiciary with just rule of law.

The latest judicial shocker is the revelation by retired Court of Appeal judge Justice K.C. Vohrah who wrote in an in-house Malaysian judiciary publication last year to mark the Court of Appeal’s 20th anniversary that the former chief justice Eusoff Chin tried to influence a Court of Appeal judge who was about to hear the appeal of the controversial Ayer Molek case in 1995. Read the rest of this entry »

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KC Vohrah: Ex-CJ Eusoff tried to subvert judge

By Hafiz Yatim
Malaysiakini
Feb 27, 2015

In yet another expose of serious transgressions committed by the Malaysian judiciary, it has now now alleged that former Lord president and Chief Justice Eusoff Chin tried to influence a Court of Appeal judge who was about to hear the appeal of the controversial Ayer Molek Rubber Company vs Insas Bhd case in 1995.

The subversion has been alleged by a now retired Court of Appeal judge who made the claims in an in-house publication of the Malaysian judiciary last year to mark the Court of Appeal’s 20th anniversary.

Former Justice KC Vohrah – who sat on the panel hearing the Ayer Molek appeal – wrote in his article that one of the judges of the three-memer panel was asked to meet Eusoff.

Besides Vohrah – who was then a High Court judge co-opted to sit at the Court of Appeal – the other judges who sat for the case were Court of Appeal judges NH Chan and Siti Norma Yaakob, the latter who later rose to become the first female Chief Judge of Malaya.

Vohrah alleged in his article – titled – ‘In the Court of Appeal, during the winds of change’ that Eusoff called the judge into to his chambers before the appeal was heard and when the judge entered, the CJ pointed to a pile of files on his table. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why the Malaysian Government Has Reneged on Political Reform

Koon Yew Yin
26th Feb 2015

This morning I listened to a local business station which carried an interview with Tom Greatex. He is a British Labour Party politician who is head of the All Party Committee on Malaysia of the UK Parliament. In the interview, although cautious, Greatex expressed great concern with the recent human rights record of the Government, especially after all the big talk by the Prime Minister of doing away with the Sedition Act, of political reform and being moderate.

His visit follows the recent statement by the British Foreign Minister who, immediately after the Federal Court’s confirmation of Anwar’s conviction, said that “[Anwar’s] case raises worrying questions about the independence of the judiciary and rule of law in Malaysia….the integrity of the rule of law is a key part of its success, as are the values of moderation and tolerance. We encourage Malaysia to recognise the importance of international confidence in its judicial system and to restore trust in its commitment to human rights.”

This is diplomatic language for saying that there is little or no international confidence in our judicial system when it comes to dealing with the opposition. It is also a polite way of saying that the Brits do not trust our commitment to human rights.

The British are not the only countries that have expressed concern. Our printed media has tried to minimize or even suppress it but strong words have also come from European Union countries, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc. Stronger criticism on the Anwar case have come from human rights groups such as Amnesty International and the International Federation for Human Rights which have called the verdict “disgraceful” and a “black day” for justice. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tun Arifin Zakaria is duty-bound as Chairman of JAC to satisfactory account for the by-passing of promotion to Federal Court of the country’s most respected serving judge, Justice Hishammdin

The Chief Justice, Tun Arifin Zakaria is duty bound as Chairman of the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) to satisfactorily account for the by-passing of promotion to the Federal Court of the country’s most respected serving judge, Justice Mohd Hishamudin Mohd Yunus.

Arifin had previously tried to shirk from his duty of national accountability when he was asked in September 2013 why Justice Hishammuddin was by-passed from promotion to the Federal Court in the batch of judicial elevations at the time, claiming that the elevation of judges was made without the influence of anyone and that it was at the prerogative of the Yang di Pertuan Agong on the advice of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Arifin is right that the elevation of judges is not 100 per cent the prerogative of the JAC, but it is beneath the dignity of the Chief Justice to hum and haw claiming that it is unfair for the media or anyone to question the fate of any particular judge.

It has been reported that Justice Hishammuddin’s name was omitted from the promotion list in 2013 as a result of a directive from the Prime Minister’s Office, after the recommendation of his elevation to the Federal Court had passed through the JAC.
Justice Hishamudin’s name was missing again on the promotions list released on Feb. 16 this year, this time by-passed in favour of Justice Zaharah Ibrahim. Read the rest of this entry »

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Will the Chief Justice of Malaysia be leading Federal Court judges to go on nation-wide roadshow to justify and win in the court of public opinion their decisions against Anwar which have not found support among the majority of thinking Malaysians

Will the Chief Justice of Malaysia be leading Federal Court judges to go on a nation-wide roadshow to justify and win in the court of public opinion their decisions against Anwar which have not found support among the majority of thinking Malaysians?

This will the next sequel to the unprecedented, unhealthy and undesirable national roadshow by Tan Sri Muhamad Shafee Abdullah, the lead prosecutor of Anwar Ibrahim’s Sodomy II trial, to character-assassinate, vilify and smear Anwar’s reputation and character although Anwar is languishing in Sungei Buloh prison.

In the second stop of Shafee’s nation-wide road-show on Saturday night in Permatang Pauh, the media were told that they were banned from reporting the event – which was even more unfair to Anwar as it meant that Shafee was at liberty to say anything he liked against Anwar as he was hiding under protection of secrecy from media reports!

Mohd Azmi Abdul, the president of the Malaysian Consultative Council of Islamic Organisations, in his article in Malaysiakini “Let’s stop this ‘Sodomy Politics’, now” summed up not only the objection but the repulsion of ordinary decent Malaysians, Muslim and non-Muslim, at such depths plumbed by those in authority in the vile campaign of character-assassination against Anwar, when he asked: Read the rest of this entry »

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Sirul cannot continue to equivocate about the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu but must show genuine remorse for the killing under orders if he wants Malaysians and the world to be equally outraged at his betrayal by the murder “mastermind”

The latest from former police commando Sirul Azhar, one of the two convicted murderers of the Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu who is in Australia challenging the bid of the Malaysian government to extradite him to return to the death row in Malaysia, is that he had never admitted to the murder of Altantuya.

Sirul has been maintaining in his telephone conversations with Malaysiakini that he had acted under orders and was being made a scapegoat.
He told Malaysiakini on Chinese New Year on Wednesday, 19th February – the day the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, blurted “utter rubbish”, “total rubbish” to Sirul’s claim of having acted “under orders”:

“There are no witnesses to the murder until today. All this is based on circumstantial evidence linking me (to the murder).

“I understand that circumstantial evidence is not strong as direct evidence.”

Sirul should come clean and admit to the heinous murder of Altantunya under orders.

Sirul cannot continue to equivocate about the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu but must show genuine remorse for the killing under orders if he wants Malaysians and the world to be equally outraged at his betrayal by the murder “mastermind” Read the rest of this entry »

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In the court of public opinion, is Putrajaya or Umno fighting Anwar?

COMMENTARY BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
18 February 2015

There is a very fine line, between defending one’s party and excoriating political opponents in the battle for the hearts and minds of the electorate. And all the more so when it comes to a criminal case.

Sixteen years ago, the prosecution led by then Attorney-General, Tan Sri Mokhtar Abdullah and aided by Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, presented the state’s evidence against Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and got him convicted and jailed for sodomy and abuse of power.

Umno and specifically then prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was blamed for that episode. It cost the ruling Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) Terengganu in the 1999 general election.

But there was no roadshows to debunk political conspiracy theories by Anwar’s supporters. None. The prosecutors did their job and that was that, no matter the international outrage, public opprobrium and the weekend public protests.
Last week, the Federal Court upheld the Court of Appeal’s verdict to convict and jail Anwar for five years in another sodomy case. Again, Anwar said it was a political ploy to keep him and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) from capturing Putrajaya.

Again, there was international outrage, public opprobrium but not much public protests as most vented their spleen online and got back to their ordinary lives.

But this time, it was Umno lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah who led the prosecution at both the Court of Appeal and Federal Court levels. And this time, Umno decided to take Shafee on a roadshow to explain the verdict. Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib should make a ministerial statement when Parliament reconvenes on March 10 on the actual status, job specification and remuneration paid to former APCO Malaysia boss Paul Stadlen to mastermind the Prime Minister’s communications

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak should make a ministerial statement when Parliament reconvenes on March 10 on the actual status, job specification and remuneration paid to former APCO Malaysia boss Paul Stadlen to mastermind the Prime Minister’s communications operations.

I have also sent in a specific oral question to the Prime Minister asking him to confirm the veracity of a report in the Sarawak Report website that Paul Stadlen is being paid millions of ringgit to mastermind his communications policy, and whether the Paul Stadlen outfit was responsible of the infamous 109-word three-paragraph statement in the name of the Prime Minister’s Office that was issued of February 10 praising the Federal Court’s decision dismissing Anwar Ibrahim’s appeal in Sodomy II, not only within minutes of the two-hour delivery of the judgment by the Chief Justice, Tun Arifin Zakaria but before the sentence was passed!

Many questions cry out for answer.

Firstly, are there no local public relations and communications experts who could be entrusted with the responsibility of masterminding Najib’s communications policy, especially as it has been reported that Stadlen’s firm was retained by the PMO at a minimum of RM3 million a year and was also commissioned for a 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB)-related project worth another RM1.5 million? Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia’s worst week ever for credibility and integrity of the administration of justice in the country

The past week starting with the Federal Court’s dismissal of Anwar Ibrahim’s Sodomy II appeal on Tuesday 10th February is likely to be the country’s worst week ever for credibility and integrity of the administration of justice in Malaysia.

The Federal Court’s 5-0 unanimous decision to dismiss Anwar’s appeal has come as a great surprise, even to those who had never entertained high hopes that Anwar could get off unscathed in his latest encounter with selective and even malicious prosecution.

But even the most pessimistic had expected either a 3-2 verdict or at worst a 4-1 decision, but everybody was floored by a unanimous 5-0 judgment.

What further stumped the legal and judicial fraternity, as well as the general public, was that there was only judgment by the Chief Justice, Tun Arifin Zakaria, when the public expectation was more than one judgment, even five judgments! Read the rest of this entry »

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PMO has no business declaring judiciary as independent, say lawyers

by V. Anbalagan
The Malaysian Insider
12 February 2015

No amount of affirmation by Putrajaya will boost the judiciary’s image as an independent body, lawyers said, pointing out that such confidence in the institution of justice must come from the public and litigants.

The lawyers, who were commenting on the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) swift statement in response to opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s guilty verdict on Tuesday, said it was unusual and unnecessary.

More so when the statement tried to defend the judiciary by saying that it is independent and that the judges “had reached their verdict only after considering the evidence in a balanced and objective manner.”

Lawyer Amer Hamzah Arshad said there was no necessity for the PMO to do so although Anwar’s appeal is considered a high profile case that had attracted international attention. Read the rest of this entry »

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Thirteen Questions for Najib to answer to salvage the credibility, independence and professionalism of Malaysian judiciary

The credibility, independence and professionalism of the Malaysian judiciary was gravely sullied by the extraordinary Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) statement on Feb. 10 defending the Federal Court decision on the Anwar Ibrahim case even before the completion of the Federal Court judicial process.

Yesterday, the government came out in defence of the PMO’s lightning quick response to the Anwar Ibrahim judgment by the Federal Court, saying it is normal procedure to prepare statements in advance.

A government spokesperson, in an email communique, to Malaysiakini said:

“It’s clear that the politicians, lawyers, communications teams and journalists involved with this case prepared text for guilty and not guilty verdicts.

“Similarly, the government prepared a statement in advance for either outcome. This is entirely standard professional practice, especially in a case that involves public interest.

“To suggest otherwise is intentionally misleading.”

Who is the Najib government bluffing?

Here are 13 Questions for Najib to answer to salvage the credibility, independence and professionalism of Malaysian judiciary which had been gravely sullied by the extraordinary PMO statement on Feb 10 defending the Federal Court decision on Anwar case even before the completion of the judicial process. Read the rest of this entry »

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