Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Lingamgate-Parliamentary Motion?

As a non-partisan ordinary man on the street, I fully support this decent elected parliamentarian's action if it comes to pass. Realistically, knowing how overwhelmingly lop-sided the powers of those against the opposition are, the motion is not gonna be an easy 'dun deal'! Good try, mate! The following report is from Malaysiakini.

Royal commission or no-confidence motion
Oct 2, 07 1:07pm
Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang warned he will move a motion of no confidence against the chief justice in Parliament if the cabinet fails to establish a royal commission of inquiry into the judiciary tomorrow.

In a statement today, Lim said the no-confidence motion against Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim will be moved when Parliament reconvenes on Oct 22.

“The cabinet (in its weekly meeting) tomorrow must not abdicate from its national duty to do what is right for the country and future generations [...] by disbanding the three-man panel on the authenticity of (the VK) Lingam tape.

“(And replace it with) a royal commission of inquiry with wide-ranging powers to inquire into the rot in the justice system to restore national and international confidence in the Malaysian judiciary,” he said.

The scandalous video clip released by opposition party PKR two weeks ago showed senior lawyer Lingam in a phone conversation, purportedly with Ahmad Fairuz, allegedly fixing the appointment of ‘friendly’ senior judges

The video clip ignited an uproar among the legal fraternity, with the Bar Council - the governing body for 13,500 lawyers - pressing for the formation of a royal commission of inquiry to get to the bottom of the matter.

The government subsequently set up a three-man panel headed by former Chief Judge of Malaya Haidar Mohd Noor, National Service Council chairperson Lee Lam Thye and former Court of Appeal Judge Mahadev Shankar.

Grounds for impeachment

Meanwhile, Lim also listed down the grounds to impeach Ahmad Fairuz for judicial misconduct and failings as chief justice. These include:

* Failure to honour his public undertaking when he first became chief justice more than four years ago to recast the Judges’ Code of Ethics 1994 to restore public confidence in judicial independence, impartiality and integrity.

* Publicly tarnishing the image of the judiciary by failing to take action and substantiate grave charges which he made against judges for accepting bribes.

* Failure to take action against judges, including from the Federal Court, who had obstructed the course of justice in not writing up judgments – with one case of a Federal Court judge who had a backlog of some 35 outstanding judgments since his High Court appointment.

* His call for the abolition of the common law system and its replacement by Islamic law system.

* The seven-month constitutional deadlock over the appointment of a suitable Chief Judge of Malaya after the retirement of Siti Norma Yaakob on Jan 5, 2007.

* The Lingam video scandal implicating him in an expose on the perversion of the course of justice involving the fixing of judicial appointments and the fixing of court decisions and judgments.

Nazri was wrong

Lim also rebutted de facto law minister Nazri Abdul Aziz’s statement that the conduct of judges cannot be debated in Parliament.

“He is wrong. There is nothing in the parliamentary standing orders or the Constitution preventing judicial misconducts from coming under the scrutiny and debate in Parliament except that it must be by way of a substantive motion which has to comply with a special procedure,” he said.

Lim highlighted that three former judges had also added their voices in support of a royal commission of inquiry and the setting of a judicial commission on appointments and promotions of judges.

The views of Court of Appeal judges Shaik Daud Ismail, KC Vohrah and VC George were reported in The Star on Sunday.

Ahmad Fairuz has since denied through Nazri being the person to whom Lingam was talking to in the eight-minute edited clip.

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