Archive for April 22nd, 2009

When a judge is plainly wrong

When a judge is plainly wrong, especially when he claims to interpret the obvious, it is not wrong for any right thinking member of the public to cricitize him.

by N H Chan

In the New Sunday Times of April 19, 2009 there appears this astonishing remark (because it is erroneous in law) which was attributed to a Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department:

KUALA KANGSAR: Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Sen Mohammed Nazri Abdul Aziz has hit out at Perak DAP chairman Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham for questioning a Federal Court ruling pertaining to Perak.
He said Ngeh should not question the court’s decision that Perak state assembly Speaker V Sivakumar did not have the power to suspend Mentri Besar Datuk Zambry Abdul Kadir and six Barisan Nasional (BN) state executive council members from attending the state assembly sittings. They were suspended for unprofessional conduct early this month.
There was no question of the judiciary interfering in the legislature as claimed by Ngeh as the courts were the best place to seek interpretation of the Constitution or law, he told reporters.
Nazri said the law did not intend to equip a speaker of a legislative assembly with unrestricted authority.
(the emphasis is supplied by me).

Everyone knows that Ngeh was talking about Article 72 (1) ofthe Federal Constitution which states:

72. (1) The validity of any proceedings in the Legislative Assembly of any State shall not be questioned in any court.

But what the Minister was saying is that “the courts were the best place to seek interpretation of the Constitution”. Now I ask the readers, do you, as a member of the general public, need a judge to interpret Article 72, Clause (1) above? But when the judges were asked to apply Clause (1) of Article 72, as we have recently observed, they have blatantly refused to apply the constitutional provision as it stands. We know that the words mean what they say. According to the dictionary the word “interpret” means “explain the meaning of”. I don’t think we need the Federal Court or any court to explain the meaning of Article 72 to us – the meaning is plain enough for us ordinary Malaysians to understand. No one in his right senses would attempt to interpret the obvious meaning of the words in Article 72(1), unless he wants to say the words mean something else as Humpty Dumpty did in Lewis Carrol: Through the Looking Glass, 6 Humpty Dumpty:

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MP Gobind’s one-year suspension without pay/privileges – will Federal Court be guilty of selective justice?

DAP MP for Puchong Gobind Singh Deo will initiate legal proceedings tomorrow morning to challenge his one-year suspension as Member of Parliament without parliamentary pay and privileges for his outburst against the then Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak over the Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu C4 murder case.

The one-year suspension of Gobind Singh Deo on March 16, 2009 was a blatant case of abuse of Barisan Nasional majority in Parliament, subjecting Gobind to double jeopardy with a very harsh second punishment although he had earlier been punished by the Deputy Speaker, Datuk Ronald Kiandee with a one-day suspension.

The right and proper thing would have been to refer Gobind to the Committee of Privileges instead of using the UMNO/BN brute majority to summarily punish Gobind by suspending him as an MP without pay and privileges.

When Parliament should have invoked its powers to deal summarily with violations of parliamentary privileges like the obstruction and menacing by Selangor UMNO Youth goons of DAP MP for Bukit Gelugor Karpal Singh from carrying out his parliamentary duties in the parliamentary precincts on Feb. 26, 2009 when this is very clearly provided for under the Houses of Parliament (Privileges and Powers) Act 1952, the Barisan Nasional-majority Parliament failed to do so. Read the rest of this entry »


EC – what moral right has it to propose law changes to deal with “unnecessary by-elections”?

The Election Commission and Barisan Nasional leaders are talking about “unnecessary by-elections” and even to amend laws to prevent them because the Barisan Nasional is on a losing streak after the March 8 general election “political tsunami” last year.

If the Barisan Nasional had won all the five by-elections held since the general elections last year, and is on a winning streak, neither the Election Commission nor the Barisan Nasional leaders hogging the media now about “unnecessary by-elections” would have uttered a single word!

I find it shocking that the Election Commission Chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd has told Sin Chew Daily that the Election Commission is very serious about silly proposals to amend current elections laws to impose monetary penalty of RM100,000 or higher to prevent such “unnecessary by-elections” except in cases of death, illness or other conditions causing MPs or Assemblymen to be unfit to perform their duties.

Abdul Aziz should focus the energies of the Election Commission on reforms of election laws and the electoral system to eradicate the loopholes and blemishes which have marred the holding of free, fair, clean and democratic elections instead of dancing to the tune of Barisan Nasional leaders who are afraid of contesting in the Penanti by-election.
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Tainted Cabinet – no Minister who dare to raise RCI in Cabinet for Najib to “clear” his name?

In his blog yesterday, former premier Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad alleged a campaign by the Western Press on the demonization of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Mahathir wrote:

1. The Western Press launched a concerted effort to demonise the new Prime Minister. From France to Britain to Australia, the articles are identical and carried the same message. The in-coming PM is said to be corrupt and involved in a murder case. The Australian writer says Malaysia is a “pariah” nation. I cannot believe that this demonisation by so many at the same time is a coincidence.

2. Included in the condemnation of the new PM is the allegation that he would bring back “Mahathirism”. By this the Western press seem to imply that the fourth PM was a dictator who detained for no reason, manipulated the judiciary, controlled the Press etc etc.

3. As the person concerned I will leave it to Malaysians to judge and to define “Mahathirism”. They are the constituents which Najib should care about. The foreign press has an agenda of their own. And their friends in Malaysia are feeding them with the anti-Najib stories as they fear Najib would put a stop to their control of the media.

4. Najib can expect to hear more of this kind of demonisation from the foreign press but it is what Malaysians think that counts. It is with them that Najib has to clear his name.

In typical Mahathirish selectivism, like his notorious case of selective amnesia when he appeared before the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Lingam videotapes scandal in January 2008, the former premier deliberately excluded mention that the spate of articles critical of Najib, before and after he became Prime Minister, with regard to the swirling allegations haunting and hounding Najib, whether on corruption or his involvement in the Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu C4 murder case, appeared not only in the Western Press but also in the Asian, Asean and even African press, including India, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, South Africa.
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