Archive for October 30th, 2007

Police at war with itself

Before Parliament adjourned at 7.30 pm, I asked the Deputy Internal Security Minister, Datuk Foo Ah Kiow to give a proper, informed and satisfactory report on the unprecedented phenomenon of “the police at war with itself” as well as “at war” with the Internal Security Ministry when he resumes his reply on behalf of his Ministry on the 2008 Budget tomorrow.

I had referred in particular to the three-page press statement earlier in the day by the Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) chief Ramli Yusuff, where he made serious allegations about victimization of CCID officers by the police and mistreatment by the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA).

Ramli confirmed that he was the police officer being investigated for amassing RM27 million in undeclared assets and denied that he had amassed RM27 million.

Ramli said he had “until today remained silent about developments in the police force, in particular, the arrest and prosecution of officers of the Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) who are alleged to have falsified statements of confidential informants in connection with the banishment of one Goh Cheng Poh @ Tengku”.

Goh, who was alleged to be an underworld kingpin in Johore, was ordered to be detained on the directive of Deputy Internal Security Minister Datuk Johari Baharom based on the intelligence gathered by police officers of CCID.

Goh was eventually “banished” to Jeli, Kelantan and subsequently applied to the High Court to set aside Johari’s banishment order.

In Parliament today, I read out five paragraphs from Ramli’s three-page statement, viz:

“In an unprecedented stance, the legal adviser of the Ministry of Internal Security, an officer of the Attorney-General’s Chambers, declined to advise and direct my officers and I (to) prepare affidavits of the events surrounding the preparation of the investigative papers on Goh for the benefit of the deputy minister of internal security.

“Those affidavits were to be filed in the High Court arising from the application by Goh to have his banishment order set aside. Given the constraints of time, we, the officers of the CCID, sought legal advice from a private law practice who advised and assisted in the preparation of the draft affidavits concerned. Read the rest of this entry »


Judicial independence – Sultan Azlan Shah’s “disquiet” only that of one person?

In my Open Letter to Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim last Tuesday to act in the national interest to restore public confidence in the judiciary by withdrawing his controversial application for a six-month extension, I had quoted extensively from former Lord President, Perak Sultan Azlan Shah’s April 2004 postscript to his book “Constitutional Monarchy, Rule of Law and Good Governance” over the “disquiet” at the erosion of public confidence in the judiciary over the previous few years.

I had said that Sultan Azlan Shah’s “critique of the parlous state of the judiciary is even more pertinent today than when he wrote it in April 2004, with the entire period falling under your (Ahmad Fairuz) term as Chief Justice — a powerful reason why Tun should avert a constitutional crisis and a new crisis of confidence over the judiciary over the controversial application for a six-month extension.”

This has been confirmed by Sultan Azlan Shah In his opening speech at the 14th Malaysia Law Conference yesterday, as he said:

Sadly I must acknowledge there has been some disquiet about our judiciary over the past few years and in the more recent past. In 2004, I had stated that it grieved me, having been a member of the judiciary, whenever I heard allegations against the judiciary and the erosion of public confidence in the judiciary.

Recently there have been even more disturbing events relating to the judiciary reported in the press. We have also witnessed the unprecedented act of a former Court of Appeal judge writing in his post-retirement book of erroneous and questionable judgements delivered by our higher courts in a chapter under the heading “When Justice is Not Administered According to Law”. There are other serious criticisms.

I am driven nostalgically to look back to a time when our Judiciary was the pride of the region, and our neighbours spoke admiringly of our legal system. We were then second to none and the judgements of our courts were quoted confidently in other common law jurisdictions. As Tun Suffian, a former Lord President of the then Federal Court, said of the local judges who took over from the expatriate judges after Merdeka that the transformation was without “any reduction in standards”.

Admittedly society is more complex today and the task of judges may be more difficult then what it was before, but the values I speak of are universal and eternal.

There is no reason why judges with the assured security of tenure they enjoy under the Constitution should not discharge their duties impartially, confidently and competently.

Will the de facto Law Minister, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz dismiss Sultan Azlan Shah’s increasing “disquiet” about the crisis of confidence in the judiciary as a “false” perception and baseless allegation of one person, in the way he dismissed the concern of Malaysian Bar on the ground that it is no “big deal” as only 1,000 out of 13,000 lawyers or 26 million Malaysians had taken part in the “Walk for Justice” to the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya?