By Anwar Ibrahim, Opposition Leader on MH002 enroute to London
"The bedrock of our democracy is the rule of law and that means we have to have an independent judiciary, judges who can make decisions independent of the political winds that are blowing." - Caroline Kennedy
Talking about political winds, it appears that lately, the Malaysian judiciary, particularly the judges of the superior courts, are caught in the whirlwind and are frantically racing against each other to please the powers that be of the day.
In the frenzy to curry favours from their political overlords, these minions have stopped at nothing to ensure that they will be the first to reach the finish line. Pots of gold await the backscratchers and lackeys. And where financial gratification may appear a tad blatant, there's always elevation to the higher rungs of office to whet the appetite. Unlike Parliamentarians, judges will never be content to be Back Benchers. The preferred place is the front and the top where they can tower over ordinary mortals, even if they be law-makers or members of the Bar. They fear no one except their political masters because they know on which side their bread is buttered. And they shall not bite the hand that feeds.
Throwing judicial decorum to the wind, they bare their fangs and sharpen their claws in order to cow supplicants in their courts into submission, and in the process, their demeanour and conduct leaves no one in doubt about their bias. And though they know that an adversarial system dictates that judges must not just act impartially but must be seen to be so, they bend backwards to don the hats of prosecutor and executioner as well. When this happens, as indeed it is happening now with unprecedented frequency, we know justice has gone to the dogs.
It is happening because Prime Minister Najib Razak, in flagrant abuse of power, has launched a new campaign of political persecution. "Even if we can't defeat them at the polls, all is not lost (remember Altantuya?). We still have our judges to do our bidding. See how they fall over each other at the snap of our fingers!"
This is the alarming trend in our judiciary where judges work hand in glove with the Attorney-General's Chambers to deny leaders of the Federal Opposition, duly elected representatives of the people in Parliament, their right to justice. In taking this unconstitutional and nefarious line, they have turned the doctrine of the separation of powers on its head.
Hence, apart from me, MPs Karpal Singh, Azmin Ali, Antony Loke, Rafizi Ramli, Tian Chua, Syed Azman and Shamsul Iskandar just to name a few, are marked for the judicial abattoir by the executioners. It may be sodomy, it may be sedition, or it may be illegal assembly, or whatever. These bootlickers know less of law and the principles of justice than lording over the courts parading proudly as peacocks (and peahens) their colourful judicial plumage overflowing with the arrogance of power.
As for those judges who used to sit on the throne, there is still life after retirement. The involvement of former Chief Justice Tun Abdul Hamid Mohamad in the National Unity Front, closely linked to Perkasa, Malaysia's icon of racism, while not shocking remains scandalous. It makes a mockery of the institution of the judiciary which he once headed and contradicts the principles of equality, equity and justice that the judiciary is supposed to stand for. Is it conceivable for a former chief judge to head an organisation that is adamantly opposed to the National Unity Consultative Council, and to be notoriously engaged in race-baiting and the trumpeting of the superiority of one race over other races in our multi-racial and multi-religious country?
It would appear that it is not only conceivable but that it is lauded with much fanfare by UMNO going by the prominent coverage given to it by the UMNO controlled media.
Incidentally, this is the same judge who, in his Federal court judgement, had written that "the court's decision must only be based on the evidence adduced and nothing else and (hence) it had to acquit because of lack of evidence," but qualified it with the illogical and manifestly asinine statement that "we find evidence to confirm that the appellants were involved in homosexual activities". In other words, "we find him NOT guilty but at the same time guilty". Anything more stupid, perverse and farcical than that cannot be found in our judicial annals (no pun intended) except for the judgements and pronouncements of Augustine Paul and Ariffin Jaka in respect of Sodomy 1 and the current decisions in respect of the application for expunging and the Sodomy 2 appeal. As they say, it has to take one stupid, perverse and farcical court to agree with another stupid, perverse and farcical court.
UMNO must fight its own political battles and not be such a coward to use the judiciary to help them fight the Opposition. How long more are our judges going to dance to tune of UMNO? When will they stop becoming stooges and lap dogs of UMNO leaders? How long more must the rakyat endure this sham? Who are the puppeteers in this shadow play? Are these judges not aware that UMNO will not be there forever to cover their tracks, or their backs, or that not only will history judge them, but that the rakyat are not going to sit idly by – forever – while they continue to pervert the course of justice?
Parliament, as the vox populi, must make its voice heard before we reach the tipping point and the situation gets out of our hands. There is a tide in our affairs which, unless we seize it, will see our voyage for democracy and rule of law in shallows and in miseries. This is the rising tide of judicial impropriety, arrogance of power and transgression. As one of the three branches of government, Parliament must reassert the sanctity of the separation of powers principle. It is therefore morally incumbent and constitutionally expedient that Parliament acts accordingly to break up the illegal and unconstitutional collusion between the Executive and the Judiciary.
1st April 2014