Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Martin Jalleh on the judiciary's failure...

Justice is done in by the Federal Court!

L-R: Alauddin Mohd Sheriff (President, Court of Appeal); Arifin Zakaria (Chief Judge of Malaya); Zulkefli Ahmad Makinuddin; Mohd Ghazali Mohd Yusoff; Abdull Hamid Embong (pic courtesy of Malaysiakini)

By Martin Jalleh

Once again justice is shamelessly sacrificed on the altar of political expediency by judicial shenanigans of the highest court in Bolehland. It is a sad day indeed to see how five “blind” men of supposed legal stature strove so hard not to see and sense what was staring at them in the Federal and Perak constitutions.

The judiciary – the very portal of justice continues to be reduced to a convenient playground for the ruling elite to legitimize their power grab, persecute their opponents and promote their political agenda, through the perversion of the rule of law by certain court jesters.

The Federal and Perak Constitutions are dead, done in by those who decided to disregard, desecrate and discard constitutional provisions to treat the doctrine of separation of powers with deference. They are rigorously and rightly interpreted only when it best suits Umno.

In stark comparison to the courageous, cogent and convincing judgment of High Court judge Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahim, the cowed five-member bench caved in and conveniently decided to take the cue from the powers that be.

It comes as no surprise that their “collective written judgement is apparently riddled with contradictions.” The five judges surely qualify for retired Justice N.H. Chan’s classic category of “recalcitrant” and “Humpty Dumpty” judges in the Perak conundrum.

Today the reputation of the judiciary or whatever was left of it, has been sullied irreparably. In the eyes of the public the judiciary has sunk so low as to allow itself to be intimidated, its independence and impartiality interfered with, and its integrity reduced to ignominy.

The judiciary has made a decision ignoring the overwhelming implications. As toppled Perak MB Nizar Jamaluddin said: “If this decision goes on and becomes the law of the day, it will lead to an absolute monarchy (which) means the ruler can now dismiss the prime minister or the mentri besar at any time.”

Chair of the Rulers Council, Sultan Azlan Shah of Perak (far right); together with the Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah Al-Haj (Selangor); and Tengku Mahkota Pahang Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah at the Council's 220th meeting on 10 Feb 2010 (Bernama pic).

The winds of change promised by the PM have turned into a stench of contemptuous compromise emanating from the corridors of the Palace of Justice. The rhetoric of the Chief Justice on a judicial renaissance and the Attorney-General on a “war against injustice” stink to high heaven.

In the halls of the Palace of Justice hangs a heavy suffocating air of hypocrisy whilst supposed men of honour with hollow character hang on to their high and lofty positions and holler, hype and harp on upholding and interpreting the constitution to the hilt as they hand out whimsical and warped judgments!

The Federal Court decision was merely the next logical step after the historic haste with which the judiciary helped Zambry back to the helm. Less than a day after the KL High Court had ruled in Nizar’s favour, and three hours after Zambry had filed for a stay of execution, a one-man Court of Appeal readily heard the latter and granted him a stay two hours later! Zambry won his appeal 11 days later!

The Federal Court ruling is the climax of the shocking and scandalous manner the judiciary has handled the Perak crisis. It has left behind a dead constitution, “bad” and “perverse” decisions, dubious declaratory orders, judgments devoid of reasoned grounds, and disgraceful double standards.

The judiciary was bursting with bias which even the blind could see!

The added fact that the “Perak cases” were made the exclusive domain of a few judges in the High Courts and especially the Appellate Courts strongly suggests a hidden hand of one who obediently followed the instructions of the same Umno elite who hijacked the Perak state government by high-handed, hideous and heinous means.

What is next fellow Perakians? Yes it was a very unfair judgment but then again life is unfair! Shall we move on and win the war in spite of having lost the battle today? Let us leave the judiciary and the those who make a mockery of our justice system to swim and drown in their own judicial vomit.

Surely the past one year has drawn the rakyat of Perak closer together and made us more daring and determined to dream and drive ourselves towards a government we really want in Perak. Personally, I have never been to so many PAS ceremahs before in my whole life!

Indeed the Perak Constitutional crisis has forged and fostered formidable comradeship amongst the leaders and members of the parties of Pakatan Rakyat (PR) in Perak. Who can forget the kind of support the PR Aduns gave to one another as they tried to enter the State Assembly or the historic raintree State Assembly? The crisis also revealed the real friends and foes of PR.

The struggle made us Perakians realize that there were heroes amongst us – an MB with an indomitable spirit, a Speaker whose courage became an inspiration to many, a retired judge intensely committed to the law, intrepid principled politicians in the coalition and unknown individuals willing to risk involvement – surely in continued synergy we will be able to serve up a surging and unstoppable wave of change… in the next General Elections!

Martin Jalleh
9 February 2010