Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Judiciary Issue! Opposition "Treated", NGOs Ignored?

(Picture taken from Jeff Ooi)

Chronicles of the "Walk of Justice"
"Lawyers don't walk everyday. Not even every month. Not even every year. But when they walk, then something must be very wrong."

These are the words from Chairman of Bar Council, Ambiga Sreenevasan relating to the Walk of Justice to Palace of Justice on 26th September 2007.

Indeed true. Especially when lawyers choose to walk when they are intimidated or had to brave the FRUs and Mother Nature in the form of rain to make their statement known.

The March / Walk for Justice stemmed from a recorded conversation between VK Lingam and purportedly with current Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim in 2002 (video format). The Shock-A-Lingam tape was released by former Deputy Minister Anwar Ibrahim. Malaysiakini has the whole set of news listed to cover this infamous video that somehow reflects on the state of the Malaysian judiciary system.

A blogger friend of mine, John Lee had pasted the full transcript of the conversation, taken from Malaysiakini. He asked the right question in the same article which is aptly titled as Malaysia's Chief Justice Rigged an Election?

Jeff Ooi and fellow blogger, Wattahack took a lot of pictures from the momentous event. I felt bad for not being there. I just came back from Macau and missed the whole thing.

Is Malaysia truly independent?
The Bar Council, which purportedly represents 12,000 lawyers submitted a few memorandums calling for an independent judiciary to serve the people. A request for an Independent Royal Commission of Inquiry was brought up as well. Without any form of Independence, justice will not be done in a manner that is beneficial to the law and order of the country. With so many calls for "independent" (inquiry and judiciary) set-ups , it is surely ironic given that the nation had just celebrated its so-called 50th Independence one month ago (31st August). Is our country really "Independent" anyway?

In my opinion, paper value and consistent shouts of "Merdeka" (the Bahasa Melayu word for Independent) carry no meaning if the governance and judiciary is being handled otherwise. Talking is easy. Working something out is tough. Not walking the talk or in Bahasa Melayu "Cakap Tak Serupa Bikin" equals to poor / inefficient governance.

The last I recalled, the citizens gave Pak Lah an almost uncontestable mandate to rule the nation running on the notion that this man would reform the nation, clean up the dirty stuff (corruption etc.) and gear the nation towards a progressive First World status.

If Malaysia is a developed democratic nation such as France and Britain, the ruling party would have been removed in immediacy. After all, the government and judicial system are created for the citizens, not the other way round. If those systems are meant to protect only the interests of a few elite powerfully-connected people, the country might as well be named a feudal country with peasants doing the work and the few invincible lords reaping the rewards. Think of a dictatorial medieval state, for example.

Nazri: Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Response reported Malaysia: Nazri Ticks Off Lawyers . This is what the infamous minister has got to say:

Statement 1: "Those who participated in the "Walk for Justice", their brains are like opposition party. It is better for them to register as members of opposition party. I will be more delighted if they (Bar Council) register as an Opposition party. So that I know how to handle them," he told Sin Chew Daily when contacted today.

Comment: This is what happens when one protests for a fair judiciary system. A minister like Nazri will treat one like Opposition parties; is it so, Nazri? As a minister, one is supposed to be working for the citizens, not against the citizens. When citizens protest, it is a form of dissatisfaction with the way certain things are being done. Lawyers are citizens too. If the Shock-A-Lingam video expose is true, I am sure not only the lawyers are concerned. The rest of the citizens are dissatisified too.

Furthermore, Opposition party members are also citizens of Malaysia. If they saw something unjust going on, there should be no reason that should stay silent. So, what does Nazri mean by his statement? Is there any other different or more negative treatment for Opposition? Let's hope that's not the case, Nazri. Let's hope there is no double standards. Yeah, right.

As I write, I am starting to recall the Batu Burok incident.

Statement 2: "I will ignore them as if they are non-governmental organizations (NGOS)," he continued.

Comment: This is the biggest blunder of all. Does this statement mean that the lawyers, who don't walk everyday but choose to fight for an independently clean judiciary system will be ignored? I understand that Nazri is a trained lawyer. That is why I am doubly surprised by such words.

How can a trained lawyer ignore the calls of other lawyers for an independent and just judiciary system? What kind of law is the trained lawyer practising then? Surprise, surprise.

NGOs are supposed to represent citizens too. For example, Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram), National Human Rights Society (Hakam) and Aliran. If MySinchew's derivation is correct, would that mean NGOs are mostly ignored ? Oh dear, what does Hakam represent again? Oh yeah, human rights of Malaysians.

Are they being ignored, Nazri?

Is this a judicial crisis? Please do not shock me by saying "No".

If that is the case Nazri, I can't help but support Mohd Kamal Abdullah's call for your resignation.

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