Archive for category Judiciary

Now Putrajaya wants longer jail sentence for Anwar

V. Anbalagan
The Malaysian Insider
April 13, 2014

Putrajaya looks to have turned the screws further on Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim after prosecutors filed a cross-appeal to enhance the five-year jail term against the opposition leader who was found guilty of sodomy last month.

His lawyer Karpal Singh said further Anwar’s appeal against the conviction and sentence appeared to be expedited for hearing in the Federal Court as the court registry had already sent him part of the appeal records.

“After going through the records, I found that the prosecution has appealed to enhance Anwar’s jail term,” Karpal told The Malaysian Insider.

This comes almost two weeks after Putrajaya had also cross-appealed against a lighter sentence imposed on Karpal who was found guilty of sedition.

On March 11, Karpal was fined RM4,000 but the prosecution filed a cross-appeal, urging the Court of Appeal to impose a stiffer penalty. Read the rest of this entry »

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For Karpal, no going out the back door

Aimee Gulliver
Apr 11, 2014

INTERVIEW Nearly 30 years on from one of the first of many threats on his life, Karpal Singh still refuses to slip quietly out the back door.

Then, he was urged by police officers to secretly leave a courtroom to avoid the danger posed by a man, claiming to have spiritual powers, who threatened to attack Karpal for suing the sultan.

Karpal refused, saying “if I go through that back door now, I will go through back doors all my life.”

The 74-year-old lawyer-politician maintains the same stoicism today, in the face of yet another attempt by the government to not only kill his political career, but also to put him in jail.

The sentence for his recent sedition conviction, a RM4,000 fine, precludes Karpal from holding political office and imposes a five-year disqualification period on running for Parliament again.

Malaysia has no upper-age limit to enter Parliament, and Karpal said he would be 82 when he would be eligible to return to politics.

“They are not doing it fairly; it is not the right way to do it,” Karpal said of the attempt to remove him from politics.

But he plans to give the government “a run for their money” on appeal.

“I will fight them to the Federal Court, and if at the end of it I have to go, then that’s too bad. I’ve got nothing left to lose.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysian Judiciary: How Low Can It Go?

Koon Yew Yin

The independence and integrity of Malaysian Judiciary are now at the tipping point. During the past few years the attention of Malaysians has been riveted by the exposure to an unprecedented number of court cases with important political ramifications. These cases include the following

• Altantuya Shaariibuu’s murder case

• N.Kugan’s death during police custody

• Teoh Beng Hock’s death

• the PKFZ scandal

• the NFC scandal

• various election appeal cases arising from the 2013 general elections

• Anwar’s Sodomy I and II case

• Karpal Singh’s conviction for alleged sedition

At no time in the country’s history has there been such a large and wide variety of politically charged cases being brought to the country’s courts of law.

If we take these cases individually and collectively, the overall impression that can be obtained from the many articles and analysis which have appeared in the internet media is that the Malaysian judiciary has come under tremendous political pressure when arriving at their judgements. Read the rest of this entry »

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Putrajaya seeks stiffer penalty against Karpal for sedition

by V Anbalagan
The Malaysian Insider
April 04, 2014

Veteran lawyer Karpal Singh, who was fined RM4,000 for sedition last month, could now be jailed after prosecution filed a cross appeal, urging the court to impose a stiffer penalty.

Karpal was found guilty of sedition and fined by the Kuala Lumpur High Court on March 11.

However, he told The Malaysian Insider yesterday that he received a copy of the notice of appeal filed by the prosecution, urging the Court of Appeal to enhance the sentence.

“They want me in jail,” said Karpal, who stepped down as DAP chairman following the conviction and sentence last month.

“Well, they are entitled to file a cross appeal.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Retired judges should stay out of politics, say lawyers, ex-judge

by V. Anbalagan
The Malaysian Insider
22nd March 2014

Retired judges must refrain from making remarks of a political nature or get involved in politics as such conduct touched on their integrity, said lawyers and a former judge.

They said unlike retired civil servants, the public still expected retired judges to have the traits of serving judges.

Their response came following the revelation that retired Court of Appeal judge Datuk Mohd Noor Abdullah had campaigned for Barisan Nasional in the Kajang by-election.

On Wednesday, Noor told a group of Umno members at a ceramah in Taman Koperasi, Kajang that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak did not have absolute power to influence the judiciary to set aside the sodomy acquittal of opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. Read the rest of this entry »

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Denying BN deposit in Kajang by-election an “impossibly tall order” but there is no other more appropriate occasion than Kajang by-election for voters to forfeit BN of election deposit

(Speech at the DAPSY Ceramah for the Kajang by-election held at the Sungei Chua BasketBall Court, Kajang on Sunday, 16th March 2014 at 9.30 pm)

When I first suggested at the fifth Pakatan Rakyat Convention in Shah Alam the previous Saturday (8th March) that the Kajang voters should do the impossible in the by-election by making the Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate lose deposit, I had said that this was a “very tall order” but the occasion warranted going for such an extraordinary result.

I want to repeat my call tonight to the Kajang voters in the by-election to perform the impossible to make the Barisan Nasional candidate lose the deposit on polling day on March 23.

I would describe this not just a “very tall order” but an “impossibly tall order”, which is not going to be easily achieved as it would need a super-herculean effort by the Kajang voters on polling day.

There are some 40,000 voters in Kajang state assembly seat. In the 13GE in May last year, the voter turnout for the constituency, comprising 48% Malay voters, Chinese 41%, Indian 10% and others 1%, was as high as 87.9%. Read the rest of this entry »

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If DAP or any of Pakatan Rakyat parties had done what Perkasa had done in going against the King’s Speech on the National Unity Consultative Council, we would have been accused of being anti-national, anti-Agong and traitors

In his royal address opening Parliament on Monday, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong not only endorsed the National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC) set up by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak to preserve the country’s harmony and seek a common ground on various religious and ethnic matters, he “called on all parties to refrain from making any statement or action that might be deemed provocative or sensitive”.

The Yang di Pertuan Agong said: “Be mindful that when unity disintegrates, the country will head towards destruction. Therefore, we should reinforce unity by cultivating mutual respect and moderation in life.”

But the Yang di Pertuan Agong has been openly challenged and defied by the provocative and insensitive statements and actions of extremist organization Perkasa and other NGOs, led by Ibrahim Ali, which rejected “wholesale” the NUCC and have set up the National Unity Front (NUF) as an alternative to the NUCC.

Yesterday, former Chief Justice Tun Abdul Hamid Mohamed was announced as the first chief of the Perkasa-backed NUF to challenge what the Yang di Pertuan Agong said in his Royal Address to Parliament on Monday. Read the rest of this entry »

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Attempts to disqualify Anwar and Karpal as MPs and to hold by-elections in Permatang Pauh and Bukit Gelugor fly in the face of Najib’s claim that he is serious about national reconciliation and national consensus

(Speech 2 in Dewan Rakyat when taking part in the debate on Motion of Thanks for the Royal Address on Thursday, 13th March 2014)

The traumatic and heart-rending MH370 tragedy is not the only event to darken the horizon of the country in the past week.

The other two somber developments of the country were the attempts to disqualify the Parliamentary Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and the DAP National Chairman Karpal Singh as Members of Parliament and to hold parliamentary by-elections in the Permatang Pauh and Bukit Gelugor constituencies, the former probably as early as before the next Parliamentary meeting in June.

The attempts to disqualify Anwar and Karpal as MPs fly in face of the claim by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak that he is serious about national reconciliation and national consensus and is prepared to rise above partisan differences to end national drift and loss of leadership and direction in the country in the past 10 months since the 13th General Elections.

In his written reply to the PAS President Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang on National Reconciliation Plan, Najib smuggled for the first time in the past 10 months a reference to the 1Malaysia Policy, which he seemed to have forgotten or abandoned although he promulgated as his signature policy when he first became Prime Minister in April 2009. Read the rest of this entry »

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Anwar Ibrahim’s conviction: A travesty of justice

– Jose Mario Dolor De Vega
The Malaysian Insider
March 10, 2014

I refer to “Judicial process and timing in Anwar’s case implies persecution not prosecution, says Bar Council”, The Malaysian Insider, March 9 concerning the latest conviction of the Malaysian opposition leader.

I overwhelmingly concur with the charge of the Malaysian Bar Council that “the charge against Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and the manner in which his appeal was handled fuels the perception that the opposition leader was persecuted and not prosecuted”.

It is undeniable that because of the grave fear and extreme paranoia of the powers that be to the natural and charismatic power and genuine popularity of Anwar to the Malaysian public, they have used all the resources and arsenal of the government even to the point of compromising the integrity and independence of the courts.

Why? For the simple reason that they do not want Anwar to win in Kajang and subsequently be the Selangor menteri besar.

I am wondering, is it all worth it? Yes, they successfully blocked Anwar from contesting in the coming by-election. In fact, he is in danger once again of going back to prison, yet do they know the repercussions and consequences of what they did? Read the rest of this entry »

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Judicial process and timing in Anwar’s case implies persecution not prosecution, says Bar Council

The Malaysian Insider
March 09, 2014

The charge against Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and the manner in which his appeal was handled fuels the perception that the opposition leader was persecuted and not prosecuted, the Bar Council said.

Malaysian Bar president Christopher Leong said that in the first place, the archaic provision under the Penal Code which criminalises sodomy and oral sex should never have been brought against Anwar.

“The case has unnecessarily taken up judicial time and public funds, and has muddied the waters of our justice system.

“We also have grave misgivings with respect to the manner and timing in which the appeal was handled, especially over the way in which mitigation and sentencing proceeded,” Leong said. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sodomy 2 Ruling Creates New Excitement

By Kee Thuan Chye
Yahoo! News
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 »

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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.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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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 »

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Anwar Ibrahim has to be put away; otherwise, Umno is doomed!

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 »

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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 »

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It is a Right, Not a Privilege, So What Now?

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 »

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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 »

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The constitution is supreme, not religion (Part 2)

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 »

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‘Allah’ decision a blot on our legal landscape (Part 1)

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 »

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Asri, the voice of reason, urges politicians to steer clear of religion

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 »

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