Malaysia Judiciary Scandal? Don’t bet on it

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Sep 21 2007
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To outsiders except for the British, corruption might not be as scary as the deadly H5N1 bird flu. Furthermore H5N1 kills but not corruption; physically the corrupted hands do not kill, do they? British government knew how corruption could bring disaster to a country, as was seen to their small colony which was under Britain’s rule till 1997 – Hong Kong. Hence the establishment of Hong Kong ICAC (Independent Commission Against Corruption) by Governor Murray MacLehose on Feb-1974 with the main objective of cleaning up corruption in the Hong Kong Government especially the Royal Hong Kong Police Force.

Malaysia’s laws have great similiarities to the British’s laws as majority of it were imported from the British, not surprising since the then Malaya was under British colonization. One of the greatest things in the Constitution is the “Separation of Powers” whereby the three pillars of parliamentary democracy namely the Legislative, Executive and Judicial are to be operates independent of each other.

3 Pillars of DemocracyUnder such separation of powers the legislative branch makes the laws, the executive implements the laws while the judiciary interprets the laws and decides legal controversies. The Legislature which is the Parliament consists of Dewan Negara (Senate) and Dewan Rakyat (House of Representatives) and its main task is to draft the laws. The Judiciary is the Supreme Court while the Executive is the Prime Minister.

Dewan Rakyat’s members are elected by the people and this is also the entry point where everything will get screw-up if the people did not elect their representative wisely. All proposed laws must pass through the Dewan Rakyat before escalated to the upper house of Dewan Negara. The Senate (Dewan Negara) which is supposed to act as the check on Dewan Rakyat has becomes rubber-stamp over the time due to various modifications. The fact that the Prime Minister belongs (overlap) to both Executive and Legislative pillars creates cloudy relationship to two of the three pillars, what more with people usually returns more than two-third majority to the government.


Hence the Prime Minister whose party controls the Legistative would make laws and at the same time implements it as if a small kid would say he wants to watch pornography and head straight to watch it, without any obstable. It wasn’t so bad because you still have the Judicial pillar to at least protect your interest and rights. But after former premier Mahathir crossed the bridge and land on the soil of Judicial back in 1988, all hell breaks loose. With the position of the highest court judge at the mercy of Prime Minister, you shouldn’t be surprise at the new title “Dictator” bestowed on him.

After two decades since the last Constitution Crisis, it appears Malaysia is going to have another one, at least Raja Petra believes it’s already happening. With senior and qualified judges put on cold storage when comes to promotion, the unqualified or juniors were given preference. Goblok blogger or not, the signature petition initiated by Raja Petra sure attracts 10,000 signatures and International Herald Tribune calling on Malaysia’s king to help resolve problems such as corruption.

The Latest Scandal – Judiciary Fixing

And the latest scandal which is blowing hard on the current government has everyone who cares to read alternative news from blogs such as JeffOoi, MalaysiaKini and Malaysia-Today in disbelieve. The scandal which involves Judiciary at the highest level was first exposed by former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and picked up by MalaysiaKini and JeffOoi’s blog. The Malaysian Bar Council equally surprised and jumped in mad. While the media which are all controlled by the government had playdown or even blackout the exposed scandal, most of the blogs are flooded with the latest revealation.

Malaysia Judiciary ScandalWhile the government controlled media are careful to use “prominent” businessman, lawyer, politician and judge, the blogs have exposed all the names involved in the “Judicial Fixing” video clip. According to MalaysiaKini, the individuals named in the video clip includes VK Lingam, current Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz, former Chief Justice Dzaiddin Abdullah, tycoon Vincent Tan, current tourism minister Tengku Adnan, former DAP member Wee Choo Keong and others.

In the video clip, the lawyer was talking on the telephone to someone who seemed to be a senior judge about how he (the lawyer) had helped get this judge appointed to one of the top judiciary posts. According to the telephone conversation, the appointment was done through a prominent businessman and a politician. The lawyer was also heard saying that he was working through the two persons to get the judge elevated even further and get him a “Tan Sri” title.

Judiciary Scandal – business as usual

The video clip with crystal clear audio has been uploaded into YouTube. Unable to hide anymore, Deputy Prime Minister today wants the authenticity of the video clip to be establi
shed. But considering Anwar has produced only 8-minutes of the original video clip to safeguard the whistle-blower, it could be used as the reason (or excuse) by the government to declare that the video-clip as not original and thus cannot be used as evidence. Unless Anwar can submit the original clip, to which will put the head of the whistle-blower’s identity to the gallows, this might be another “case-close” in the making. In addition, who are you or even the opposition to argue with the government if the ruling government insists that the video clip authentication cannot be verified? The transcript of the clip is here.

As usual, the calls for Royal Commission of Inquiry to be setup, asking the Chief Justice to be suspended and so on were heard. However such calls are basically useless and waste of time as with previous scandals that spawned such inquiries, it’ll be business as usual in no time. Furthermore the government basically controls all the three pillars of powers, mind you. Of course the timing of the video clips being exposed definitely raise people’s eyebrows.

Whether the video-clip produced is to portray Anwar’s innocence while at the same time to splash more dirt water onto Mahathir or simply to embarrass the current administration remains to be seen. For all you know prime minister Badawi might just reuse the famous yet effective “I don’t know … I’m not aware … it (the video clip) didn’t happen during my time” phrase to pass the ball out of his court. While this may be the second Judiciary Crisis, it’s definitely the first Judiciary Scandal. Furthermore how serious could this scandal be compare to the RM4.6 billion ringgit Port Klang Free Zone scandal? If the US$1.3 billion PKFZ scandal can be twisted with the soft-loan trick, this Judiciary Scandal can be twisted the same way, only with much ease.

Desperate times require desperate measures

ICAC Anti CorruptionPrior to the current state where the Supreme Court is the highest court, appeals on criminal and constitutional (abolished in 1978) and civil (abolished in 1985) matters can still be taken to the Queen-in-Council, advised by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London. Of course the country cannot revert back to Privy Council as that would be “unpatriotic”.

What the nation need is to return the glory of independence of check and balance. Simple measures such as restructure the Anti-Corruption-Agency to one similar to Hong Kong’s ICAC with the Commissioner of the body report directly to Parliament and the King might do the trick. The same goes to the appointment of judges, especially the Chief Justice.

Should Stock Investors Care?

What the heck does the Judiciary scandal has anything to do with stocks investing? Well, if the appointment of top judges can be brokered, as long as the money play along, what do you think of the investment protection the minority shareholders have if the tycoon of your portfolio (shares) decides to play you out? Remember Transmile Group Berhad (KLSE: TRANMIL, stock-code 7000), Megan Media Holdings Bhd (KLSE: MEGAN, stock-code 7101) or even unlisted Maika Holdings Berhad? You don’t think some heads will be sent rolling, do you?

The bottom line – vote wisely; but considering even Rocky’s Bru never register in his entire life, the current government will definitely score another big win in the coming general election. Maybe not 90% votes win but probably 85%.

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