Thursday, 17 May 2018 | MYT 12:00 AM
Rescue the judiciary and restore rule of law
OUR new prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has moved with great alacrity to set things right. He has given clear warning to the heads of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and Election Commission (EC) and the attorney-general that their conduct would come under strict scrutiny to determine whether they committed any wrongdoing.
He has pledged that heads would roll if they are found to be guilty of any wrongdoing. He has prevented former PM Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak from leaving the country and instructed that the 1MDB audit report be unsealed. Dr Mahathir is a man in a hurry to right the many wrongs perpetrated by Najib the anti-democrat.
Things are moving clearly and efficiently in the interest of the nation and justice. Malaysians are pleased and encouraged that a new dawn has indeed arrived. I hope Dr Mahathir will give equal attention to the judiciary and cleanse it to restore public confidence which is at rock bottom now.
Some of the decisions made by certain judges on 1MDB and the redelineation issues were startling and flabbergasting. There may be an urgent need to revisit these decisions to ensure that justice and fairness were not denied to the litigants who took to the courts for relief.
Of paramount importance would be to investigate whether the extension of the service of the current chief justice Tun Md Raus Sharif and president of the Court of Appeal Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin beyond their compulsory retirement age and their subsequent reappointment as chief justice and president of the Court of Appeal was legal and valid under the Constitution. Many view this as illegal and unconstitutional.
Eminent legal minds felt that the extension of service and reappointments went against the Constitution. They contended that there was no provision to justify these extensions and reappointments after 66 years and six months. Many were suspicious that these were political appointments to protect those involved in the wrongdoings at 1MDB.
We need to ascertain if these appointments were proper and there were no political strings attached. We cannot sacrifice the sanctity of the judiciary. Hence, there is an urgency to appoint a panel of eminent, respected and retired judges to investigate these appointments that are deemed to be politically motivated.
The judiciary is the fountain of justice and the decisions cascading from it should not be tainted or jeopardised by unscrupulous politicians for their own survival. The judiciary should never be manipulated away from the path of truth and justice.
It is said that the bedrock of the judiciary is the rule of law where the law is applied in its generality, equality and neutrality. That means having an independent judiciary and judges who can make decisions independently without any bias, political interference or influence. We must ensure that this prevails in our judiciary.
All those who subverted justice and bent backwards to pander to the politicians must be removed and brought to book, and the sooner this is done the better.