Abdullahs’ 4th anniversary as PM – marked by constitutional crisis with no CJ after Nov. 1?

The question uppermost in many minds is whether the fourth anniversary of Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi next week will be marked by his biggest constitutional crisis with the country without a Chief Justice for the first time in 50 years.

It is open secret that the application by Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim for a six-month extension as Chief Justice from November 1 has catapulted the country to the precipice of a national crisis, as it is not only opposed by the Bar Council and the civil society but also by the Conference of Rulers.

In his 55 months as Chief Justice, Ahmad Fairuz had chalked up a catalogue of failures of judicial leadership, particularly:

  • His failure to build on the efforts of his predecessor Tun Abdullah Dzaiddin take the country to another critical level to restore national and international confidence in the independence, integrity and quality of the judiciary in the tradition of the three distinguished Lord Presidents of the country, Tun Suffian, Tun Raja Azlan Shah and Tun Saleh Abas;
  • His mishandling of the appointment of a new Chief Judge of Malaya to succeed Tan Sri Siti Normah Yaakob on 5th January 2007 after a six-month extension, resulting in a seven-month stand-off with the Conference of Rulers and a most deplorable situation where the country was left without a proper and lawful Chief Judge of Malaya for over seven months;
  • His embroilment in the Lingam Tape scandal to the extent that the Chief Justice has become a “fugitive” from the media and the public, with the Hari Raya party of the judicial and legal service yesterday declared completely “off-limits” for the media just because the Chief Justice was attending and was afraid to be asked questions about his role and involvement in the Lingam Tape scandal!

There can be three scenarios after the meeting of the Conference of Rulers on Wednesday and Thursday:

  • Ahmad Fairuz extended as Chief Justice, whether for six or two months from Nov. 1;
  • A new Chief Justice appointed from Nov. 1; and
  • No Chief Justice from Nov. 1, because of the constitutional deadlock with the Conference of Rulers raising objections to the application for extension by Ahmad Fairuz.

Will Ahmad Fairuz precipitate a second constitutional deadlock, first over the appointment of Chief Judge of Malaya and now over the Chief Justice, with Abdullah dragged into a second constitutional crisis because of failure of leadership of the Prime Minister?

I must remind the Prime Minister in the strongest possible terms that any extension of the tenure of Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim as Chief Justice from next month, whether for six or two months, will provoke a new firestorm of nation-wide protests from lawyers, the civil society and Malaysians, plunging the new crisis of confidence in the judiciary which had haunted the nation for the past month because of the Lingam Tape scandal, to its nadir.

This is a option Abdullah should reject in favour of appointing a new Chief Justice whose biggest challenge must be to restore national and international confidence in the Malaysian judiciary after nearly two decades of degradation and devastation of the judicial landscape.

  1. #1 by k1980 on Friday, 26 October 2007 - 1:42 pm

    4th Scenario:- The Conference of Rulers order Pak Dur to take a flying leap from his executive jet, sans parachute

  2. #2 by sheriff singh on Friday, 26 October 2007 - 2:09 pm

    Expect Nazri to come out saying: ” Constitutional crisis? What crisis? I don’t see any crisis. Those crazy lawyers and Opposition members.”

    Zam will say : ” Everything is well in this country with or without a Chief Justice. The Opposition members are again being anti-nasional and unpatriotic for harping on this issue”.

  3. #3 by k1980 on Friday, 26 October 2007 - 2:25 pm

    Since Dollah loves the CJ so much, they ought to resign, get married and live happily ever after as in the fairy tales

  4. #4 by Jimm on Friday, 26 October 2007 - 2:28 pm

    We all know that all these means nothing to our PM or BN coalition parties as they have decided to move forward with the GE to gain grounds for another new terms.
    With most of their investment heavily pumped out into various sector (for name sake “for Malaysia”), they cannot afford to wait and allow their risk to be unchecked.
    With the ACA will play their role in putting a stop to DSAI’s attempt to be eligible in the coming GE, they knew that they have a slightly better advantage comparing to BA.
    Of course another good effort from ACA in all the recent arresting of those ‘suspected’ in wrong practices will also assist in gathering more ‘extra’ funds to boost up the GE results. All these ‘sponsorers’ will have to choked out their ill-gotten wealth which are not ‘registered’ under any form of documentation will help to easen up the funding.
    As for the rest of those front runners of BN like public clowns, they will play a role to disorganized and divert public attention with their various ‘mindless’ speeches and remarks to assist the execution.
    So, who are more likely the FOOL here ?

  5. #5 by sheriff singh on Friday, 26 October 2007 - 2:47 pm

    We spent US$ 30 million to send just ONE space traveller (angkasawan) to outer space. And we have had to spend another US$ 1 billion to “qualify”.

    With advances in technology, we could have spent just US$ 200,000 per head or a total of US$ 30 million to sponsor 150 “space travellers”. And we “boleh”.

    How about sending the entire Cabinet and perhaps the entire BN leadership to outer space for this price? Then everything would be OK down here.

    See this :

    7 Chinese apply to be space tourists

    BEIJING – SEVEN Chinese have applied to become space tourists on a planned commercial flight in the United States in 2009, state media reported.

    Six men and one woman have put their names forward in the hope of becoming the first two Chinese tourists to travel to space in SpaceShipTwo, run by British billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic company, said the Beijing Morning Post on Friday.

    According to the company’s website, work on the spacecraft design and construction is ‘well advanced’, with commercial flights on the maiden Virgin Galactic craft commencing early in 2009.

    Mr Branson’s Virgin Galactic has already begun taking reservations for seats aboard SpaceShipTwo, a six-seater reusable spacecraft developed by American engineer Burt Rutan.

    The flights are expected to launch from a remote region of New Mexico in the United States, with tourists paying around US$200,000 (S$291,000) to be rocketed into space to experience weightlessness before returning to earth.

    A New Mexico Spaceport Authority official said there would be two or three missions a day, five days a week, and around 700 to 800 flights a year. — AFP

    Perhaps AirAsiaXXXXXXXXXX will have a flight for RM 9.99.

  6. #6 by Filibuster on Friday, 26 October 2007 - 3:00 pm

    Sheriff, the space adventure serves both to distract the public from what’s going on, and also is a convenient way to obtain pocket money, no? Heck 30 mil is a lot of money…

  7. #7 by uyatnej on Friday, 26 October 2007 - 3:11 pm

    Those umno monkeys all are separuh masak, half past six thinker, how to run this country? Sure all rakyat susah, yang senang only them, those who are rich are also them, only rakyat biasa like us are suffering.

  8. #8 by Godfather on Friday, 26 October 2007 - 3:16 pm

    Badawi will mark his 4 years in power by showing off a report card full of stars. Stars given to him by his inner circle, and by his propaganda chief “Goebbels” Zainudeen Maideen. Add the stars that he sees every time he reads a document, he will think that it is his destiny to lead the country. Alas, it is to lead the country to ruin.

    It takes a foreigner (Backman) to even highlight that Badawi has done what his predecessors could not – the business community are united in the view that the Sleepy Head is simply incompetent.

  9. #9 by Jong on Friday, 26 October 2007 - 3:40 pm

    Btw Sheriff Singh and Fillibuster, the correct figure is rm90 million!

  10. #10 by madmix on Friday, 26 October 2007 - 3:49 pm

    I do not understand the extreme reluctance of the PM to sack any minister or top official for embarrassing his government; or is it that he is so thick skinned, he cannot be embarrassed.

  11. #11 by Libra2 on Friday, 26 October 2007 - 4:05 pm

    I think it all depends on the integrity of the PM himself. A righteousness man will not want to take crooks in his stable. The PM can, because they are all of the same feather.

  12. #12 by Libra2 on Friday, 26 October 2007 - 4:12 pm

    A certain senior lawyer in Johor paid RM 200,000 to the “man on the other end of the phone” so that he would be appointed a judge. Unfortunately he was felt cheated as the money given to the “man at other end of the phone” did not honour his promise.
    This lawyer has been entertaining him for private karaoke’s in JB as this “man at the other end of the phone” loves to sing.
    Oh don’t ask me to lodge a report to the ACA, which will ask for the original tape (which is non existant) or threaten to arrest me.

    This news is making the rounds in the Johor legal circle.
    Can a judiciary in hell be saved?

  13. #13 by a-malaysian on Friday, 26 October 2007 - 4:52 pm

    Talking about the malaysian being sent out to space. Fellow Malaysian, do you not think that may be fake? To me without seeing the original copy and the person who took it, I just cannot believe that the person in space is from our country.

    Although the tv shows it live does not proof that is the true picture. We need a panel to authenticate it and for the original copy to be delivered and also the person who took it must come forward to tell us the true story behind this cosmonut episode.

    Well I must be crazy, maybe because of the way the gomen handle the lingamgate issue that changes my mindset that everything in video form must be original only and the one who took it must come forward as well.

    50 years is ENOUGH
    Vote For A Change
    Vote For Any Opposition
    Give Them A Chance To Change For A Better Malaysia
    Remember bn Is A Useless Grouping Of Self Serving, Corrupt, Dictator, Power Crazy, Racist, Kris waving, etc, etc type of parties.

  14. #14 by Cinapek on Friday, 26 October 2007 - 4:59 pm

    We need to appoint a three man panel to verify whether those pix we see of our man in space is authentic. For all you know, it could be filmed in a studio somewhere in Siberia. Like they say about the moon landing. It was filmed in a barn in Nebraska. We also need to make sure the panel has no authority to call anyone to verify the authencity of the pix and they cannot call the angkasawan or the US and Russian astronaut or cosmonaut or what have you to testify. They have to ask our ACA to investigate and submit a report to the panel.

  15. #15 by Cinapek on Friday, 26 October 2007 - 5:10 pm

    NO CJ?! No problem. If the country can run on autopilot, whats a mere judciary? After all, the Lingam tape has shown what the judiciary is made of anyway, so what is the difference got CJ or no CJ?

    The man would say:

    This is only a storm in a teacup. Even during the massive rainstorm end last year and half of Johor and part of Malacca were flooded and with hundreds of thousands homeless, I could still manage the problem by remote from Australia. I could find time to open nasi kandar restauarants in Perth and go sailing with my good friend Jean Todt. So no need to panic if no CJ. The rulers are not cooperative despite me having told them our man is truly Bangsa Malaysia because his present position is arranged by a consortium of an Indian lawyer with the help of a Chinese business tycoon and a Malay UMNO leader. The ideal candidate they cannot refuse.

  16. #16 by Godfather on Friday, 26 October 2007 - 5:20 pm

    Constitutional crisis ? Sleepy Head thinks that constitutional crisis can be offset with another “C” word – Corridors.

  17. #17 by Sino Malay on Friday, 26 October 2007 - 7:15 pm

    Dear Mr Lim, I’m sorry to say that you, like many others, have got it all wrong. The fact is, 1) Abdullah did not ask the King to extend Fairuz’s term as CJ. Fairuz, without informing the PM, wrote a letter directly to the King to ask for a six-month extension of his office. This has angered Abdullah. This is borne out by the fact that the NST began attacking Fairuz. Would NST attack Fairuz without instructions from Abdullah? 2) Abdullah wants Tan Sri Zaki Azmi to be the next CJ and he has nominated him and submitted his name to the King. Normally the outgoing CJ would consult the PM on his successor. The PM would give his opinion on the CJ’s choice or suggest someone and the CJ would give his opinion on the PM’s choice. After the sacking of Salleh Abas, no retiring CJ has ever over-ruled the PM on the appointment of the new CJ. But this time, there has been no “consultation” between the Fairuz and Abdullah who is, for reasons known to him alone, is in a hurry to get rid of Fairuz. If there’s a confrontation between the King and the rulers with the PM, then the following may happen: 1) the King will extend Fairuz’s term, though it may not be for six months, just to spite Abdullah. 2) the King can refuse to appoint Zaki as what happened with the appointment of the new CJ of Malaya. 3) If Abdullah manages to pacify the King and the rulers, then the King will consent to Zaki’s appointment. After all, the King did surprisingly consent to Zaki’s elevation to the Federal Court.

    I hope I’m wrong. But I have a feeling that Tan Sri Zaki will be the new CJ come November 1.

  18. #18 by undergrad2 on Friday, 26 October 2007 - 9:45 pm

    “Normally the outgoing CJ would consult the PM on his successor.”

    Not true.

    I should think the PM would as a matter of practice consult the outgoing CJ who should have consulted senior lawyers and the Bar Council and fellow judges, as to who should be appointed the next CJ. There should be a few names submitted for the PM’s consideration. Once it is narrowed to one, a single name would be submitted to the Agong for the formal appointment. The Agong has no discretion in the matter – unless there is clear and convincing evidence of an abuse of power? Even then I do not think there is anything within the Federal Constitution of 1957 that allows the Agong to intervene in the executive process.

  19. #19 by undergrad2 on Friday, 26 October 2007 - 9:55 pm

    “I hope I’m wrong. But I have a feeling that Tan Sri Zaki will be the new CJ come November 1.”

    No one can eliminate completely anybody and this includes Zaki as the “dark horse” at a time of crisis such as this. But Zaki has just been appointed federal court judge without doing time as a high court judge. That is an unprecedented move, clearly politically motivated and must have been unpopular with the country’s senior judges.

    Are you saying that at one stroke they choose to break away from tradition completely??

  20. #20 by undergrad2 on Friday, 26 October 2007 - 10:03 pm

    I know Zaki. For many years he refused the offer of a High Court judge position. Why should he want that position. He’s doing well without it. Now that he has created his personal financial empire through years of service as UMNO lawyer defending challenges to Election victories and declaring others void, there’s nothing more he could want – except the position of a federal court judge, and then CJ.

  21. #21 by justice_fighter on Friday, 26 October 2007 - 11:53 pm

    Both the dirty PM Abdullah Badawi and the dirty Chief Judge Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim MUST BE SACKED by the people in the coming general election!

  22. #22 by Libra2 on Saturday, 27 October 2007 - 7:58 am

    Woe betide if Zaki becomes CJ. Not a single Opposition member will ever win a criminal or civil suit in his courts. Every single Opposition member will be fined or jailed on the flimsiest of evidence.
    No BN/UMNO member or cabinet minister will be found guilty of any crime or lose a civil suit against any party.
    There will be no multi million ringgit awards by ISA victims.
    All Opposition election petitions will be thown out even if ther eis prove of widespread cheating.
    If Zaki become is CJ, the die is cast – the judiciary is condemned beyond redemption. The Judiciary and UMNO become one entity.
    The country is doomed!
    If the Ruler accept Zaki’s appointment as CJ, I will the first the give up on the Rulers and the country.

  23. #23 by Jeffrey on Saturday, 27 October 2007 - 8:23 am

    There are strong rumours that Zaki is likely candidate for CJ.

    It is strange, to say the least, for one not to renew Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim’s tenure as CJ in part to ostensibly restore image of Judiciary’s independence from Executive interference and yet appoint Tan Sri Zaki Azmi,with ties to UMNO as the party’s legal adviser, in Fairuz’s place!

  24. #24 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Saturday, 27 October 2007 - 10:56 am

    Zaki has always been UMNO’s first choice lawyer for this-and-that. So if he becomes CJ, they should change the name of the apex court to U.M.N.O. (U Must Not ‘O’; O can mean anything for flexibility’s sake) SUPREME COURT.

  25. #25 by dawsheng on Saturday, 27 October 2007 - 11:00 am

    Sino Malay Says:

    October 26th, 2007 at 19: 15.25
    Dear Mr Lim, I’m sorry to say that you, like many others, have got it all wrong.

    You mean Fairuz is not a corrupt Chief Justice?

  26. #26 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Saturday, 27 October 2007 - 11:05 am

    Besides, Malsyian system of parliamentary democracy is a 1-pillar model. The Executive dominates PArliament & Judiciary; the latter two are servilely beholden because, sadly, the Opposition is a mere tokenism.

    That’s why ‘Westminster’ can only apply if we have a more robust opposition.

    That’s why Malaysians must be prepared to be ‘slaves’ if they don’t kick out BN in the next GE.

  27. #27 by undergrad2 on Saturday, 27 October 2007 - 10:26 pm

    “Nobody questions the legal qualifications and capabilities of Zaki but there are many legitimate questions as to the suitability of his judicial appointment, in particular as Chief Justice.” KIT

    I do.

    We are here talking about the highest judicial post within the Judiciary – probably the third, fourth or fifth most single powerful post after the Prime Minister(?). The envy that others holding elected offices have against the person who holds this appointed office is best remembered when Mahathir commented not too long ago that if the Lord President wanted to represent the people he must stand for elections like everybody else, that the Prime Minister is the elected representative of the people and not the Lord President. What happened after that is history – the Lord President was given the boot!

    With Zaki as CJ UMNO need not worry about the man being a loose cannon. Zaki is a die-hard UMNO loyalist who has built his financial empire on the back of UMNO – challenging the results of elections that UMNO have lost and declaring others void and bringing in witnesses who were paid to tell the court what they saw happened etc. He was never paid for these services but was rewarded in other ways with businesses that went to his law firm of Rashid & Lee.

    Yes, I believe him when he said he was only answering to the call of duty when he was made federal court judge.

    Zaki may be legally qualified to hold such office but a candidate for the highest post in the Judiciary must be compeltely free from controversy. Zaki has had his share of controversy ranging from his frolics with his female legal assistants, his controversial marriage and divorce etc.

  28. #28 by Godfather on Sunday, 28 October 2007 - 12:00 am

    If Zaki has any sense of integrity and honour, he should simply decline Badawi’s nomination.
    the fact that he has been an UMNO lawyer for almost 30 years cannot be eliminated by simply resigning from party posts or stopping his legal work for the party.

    Ultimately, the blame must be put squarely on the Sleepy Head for even thinking that a person with Zaki’s resume could qualify as CJ.

  29. #29 by undergrad2 on Sunday, 28 October 2007 - 2:11 am

    “If Zaki has any sense of integrity and honour, he should simply decline Badawi’s nomination.” Godfather

    Not if you’re talking about the country’s top job in the Judiciary. He has for years turned down offers of high court judge and court of appeal judge. At his age, this is his last chance.

  30. #30 by Loyal Malaysian on Sunday, 28 October 2007 - 7:04 am

    That the present CJ asks for an extension and the PM agrees to it shows a lack of moral shame in both parties granted the Lingam tape.
    Let’s hope our Agong puts these two clowns in their place!!

  31. #31 by Godfather on Sunday, 28 October 2007 - 11:03 am

    “Not if you’re talking about the country’s top job in the Judiciary. He has for years turned down offers of high court judge and court of appeal judge. At his age, this is his last chance.” Undergrad2

    Isn’t there a paradox in this statement ? If he has indeed for years turned down offers to be a high court judge and a court of appeal judge, presumably it is either due to his sense of integrity or that he could make more money where he is. Either case doesn’t gel with the “last chance” concept. Last chance for what ? I’d scoff at any notion that this is Zaki’s last chance to do national service !

  32. #32 by zai5812 on Thursday, 1 November 2007 - 4:55 pm


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