Malaysia's Chief Justice Rigged an Election?
It is not really surprising to me to hear that the judiciary is corrupt and needs reform. Anything impinged upon by the government in Malaysia needs reform, and everything that isn't impinged upon probably has to be so sick that even the government dares not touch it.
Of course, at this juncture, people love to butt in and ask how we propose to do that. It is really rather simple: re-establish the judicial commission abolished by a constitutional amendment in our early history and avoid making judicial appointments hinge only on a decision of the executive (no, royal fetishists, the monarch is also a member of the executive since the premier acts in his name).
After that we could just go ahead and appoint more judges (this time with actually a semblance of fairness — is Gopal Sri Ram such a bad judge that he has had to sit on the Court of Appeal for decades, while Court of Appeal judges sitting for a few months receive promotions to the highest court in the land?), sorting out the horrifying backlog of cases we have.
There are of course a lot of other things that could be done, but these are the most obvious and fundamental. Now, on to the juice: did the Chief Justice, Tun Fairuz Ahmad, rig an election?
Anwar Ibrahim has just released this damning video of senior lawyer V.K. Lingam speaking with what almost certainly is Tun (then Datuk) Fairuz Ahmad on the phone.
In short, several judicial appointments were fixed in advance, all set so as to ensure "appropriate" judgments were delivered. Tun Fairuz's was one of those — then only Chief Justice of Malaya, he was assured by Lingam that he would be appointed to the Court of Appeal and later the Federal Court.
As if this were not scandalous enough, Lingam also thanked Tun Fairuz profusely for his ostensible contributions, including the judgment he delivered in the case of Wee Choo Keong.
Wee was a Democratic Action Party Member of Parliament who lost his seat in 1995, after Tun Fairuz ruled against Wee's election petition and refused to call a new election.
The implication is clear: Tun Fairuz rigged an election, ruling in favour of the ruling regime. Is this true? Like you, I don't know. But I would not be surprised if that were the case. Which reminds me — speaking of judicial reform, we should be fixing the election courts as well.
Transcript of the discussion, courtesy of Malaysiakini:
The CJ (Chief Justice - judiciary No 1 post) said he is relative to now Agong, so he wants to stay on to 68, so... Tengku Adnan, I told Tengku Adnan, yesterday I had a meeting with him.
He said PM is already very angry with him, he said no problem he is going to make you acting err.. confirm your position as PCA (President of Court of Appeal - judiciary No 2), working very hard, then working very hard to get Tan Sri Mokhtar as CJM (Chief Judge of Malaya - judiciary No 3).
Ah, we just keep it confidential. I am working very hard on it.
Then there is a letter, according to Tengku - I am going to see him tomorrow - there is a letter sent to CJ, I mean Tan Sri Dzaiddin, that Datuk Heliliah, Datuk Ramli, Datuk Ramli and Datuk Maíroop be made judges, and he rejected Dr Andrew Chui and apa itu Zainuddin Ismail lah. Because Zainuddin Ismail condemned your appointment and Tan Sri Mokhtarís appointment.
And then you also, you seem to write a letter for the remaining five be confirmed as judges. As per our memo I discuss with Tun Eusoff Chin, and we sent the same memo to PM.
I just want to get a copy (of the) letter that that has been done.
And then Tan Sri Dzaiddin said he is going to recommend six people for the Court of Appeal, but until today the letter hasnít come to PM. He never discuss, but neither he has sent the letter to PM. Yes, he has not sent. I know it is under the constitution for judges all that is your job, Datuk, to send, but we donít want to make it an issue now.
Ah. Okay. Actually I told Tengku Adnan to inform PM - PM to call you for a meeting. I organise it so that Tengku Adnan will call you directly. And then I got your number, I will tell him to call you directly for you to meet PM lah. So should be okay, then ar.. correct, correct, it is very important that the key players must be there.
Correct, correct, correct, correct, correct. You know that the same problem that Tun Eusoff Chin has. He tried to do all this and yet he has run out of soldiers. He couldnít do it because many are from the other camp. Last time was unfortunate because Tun Daim was doing everything, sabotaging.
Otherwise, how are things with you - everything is okay? No, donít worry.
You know sometimes Tan Sri Vincent that half the time they are talking about judiciary rather than doing the work. But if I donít do this part, my work will be useless.
Ha, ha, ha. Ah, yes. Correct, correct, correct, correct, correct, correct. Right, right, right, correct. Ah, right, susah. You see, he has now up for six Court of Appeal judges, so that he can put his men before he retires.
Correct, correct, correct, ah, and then ah, correct. But never mind, I will do this. I will get Tengku Adnan to arrange for PM to call you and Tan Sri Vincent Tan for PM to call you. And you know why? Actually, I am very grateful with Tan Sri Vincent Tan. You know why? I brainwash you so much even I quarrel with him.
One day, I went to Vincent Tan's house, I fired him at night in his house. I said bloody hell if you donít do this, who will do it?
All these people Tun Eusoff Chin, Datuk Ahmad Fairuz, Tan Sri Zainon, all fought for that. Then he called Tengku Adnan. Tengku Adnan, he said saya bukan Perdana Menteri Malaysia lah, you know. If the old man doesnít want to listen to me, go to hell.
He quarreled with me. I said never mind, never mind, you talk to PM again tomorrow morning to put Datuk Ahmad Fairuz to CJM. So next day morning, he went and he called me back 9.30 that he said PM has already agreed.
So I said never mind, we hope for the best. So I said no harm trying - the worst that it can happen is that you lose. Being the old man, he is 76 years old, he gets whispers everywhere, and then you donít whisper, he get taken away by the other side. But, now PM is very alert because every time he gets letters from Tan Sri Dzaiddin, he called Tengku Adnan, he said discuss with Vincent - come and discuss.
Yes yes, ya. Correct, correct, ya, but you see although I know PM, I am a lawyer in practice, my views are.. I go through them, I go through them lah. Ah, ah, ah, ah.
And then Dzaiddin will call them telling that you went saw PM and you make a big issue out of it. Oh ya, I think so, I think so.
Okay, fine, fine, fine, fine. Okay, okay, okay, okay.
Ah, ah. Correct, correct. Now I heard Raja Aziz, Raja Aziz two weeks ago spoke to my lawyer Thayalan and another lawyer Ailan in the High Court - they have a case each other. So, Thayalan and Ailan asked Raja Aziz, how is Tan Sri Wan Adnan?
He said he is on his way down. But you know what is the shocking thing he said? Datuk Fairuz became CJM. He overruled everybody. In three months time, he is going be made PCA, and six months time, he is going to be CJ. He said he canít think, heís shocked. He told us.
Ha, it seems that they are going to organise a campaign to run you down. But you just keep quite, donít say anything. Even the press asked, you said I leave it to God, thatís all. Donít say. I really like your message. You said you work very hard, what can I do? I leave it to God.
Thatís the best answer, Datuk, that you can ever be.
Ah... I will also get Tan Sri to remind PM to put a Tan Sri-ship this year lah. This will elevate you, you know.
Oh yes, yes, yes, yes. Ha. Steve Shim got so fast, Tan Sri Chong waited for whole year to get Tan Sri-ship.
Ah.. My God thatís why, ah. Correct, correct, correct, correct. Ya, ya, ya, ya. Right, right, right. Correct, correct.
Donít worry, we organise this. If Tan Sri Vincent and Tengku Adnan want to meet you privately, they will, I will call you. We organise in a private arrangement, in a very neutral place.
No, donít worry, Datuk, I know how much you suffer for Tun Eusoff Chin. And Tun said 'Datuk Ahmad Fairuz, 110 percent loyalty'. We want to make sure our friends are there for the sake of the PM and the sake of the country.
Not for our own interest, not for our own interest. We want to make sure the country come first. Well, you suffered so well, so much you have done. For the election, Wee Choo Keong, everything. How much, nobody would have done all these.
Yes, you know. Good lah. Donít worry. I am constantly working on this.
Ya, ya, donít worry, don't worry. We work hard on this. And Datuk, and then if Tan Sri Vincent and Tengku Adnan want to see you, I will organise it in such a confidential place.
Okay, Datuk, very best. God bless you and your family.
Okay. Thank you, thank you. Bye.