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Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Crisis Of Justice Demands Urgency

Perhaps YB Nazri was correct when he observed that there was no judicial crisis. What we are is a crisis of justice that embraces the whole nation. As explained in my post on why the Royal Commission is crucial, if the video is authentic, the implications and ramifications are mind boggling.

A crisis of this nature requires an urgent response. What we have seen however is the complete opposite. There has been no move on the part of the Government to seek that the Chief Justice take a leave of absence. The Investigative Panel is gradually cranking itself up to speed to an end no longer uncertain. In my earlier post, I suggested that there was ambiguity about what determining the authenticity of the tape meant. That has since been cleared up. The chairperson of the Investigating Panel, Tan Sri Haidar is quoted in The Sun today (see 'Probe panel meets tomorrow on damning video-clip') as declaring:

"The meeting will examine how to go about verifying the authenticity of the video (from a technical perspective). Our task is purely confined to that."

What happens after that? Another cabinet meeting, another panel, more time? And what happens in the meanwhile, we pretend that everything is alright? And what if the investigations finally reveal that the concerns of civil society were founded and that justice had been skewed to improper end? Does the Government then expect all of those who are before the Courts now, or who have been before the courts in the period of time in issue, to just shrug and say "let by-gones be by-gones"? There is already talk of litigants going back to court to set aside judgments on the basis of apparent impropriety.

The lack of urgency on the part of the Government is a strong indication of a lack of appreciation of the seriousness of the matters at hand. A more sinister interpretation of this attitude suggests that the Government may not be keen on getting to the truth, or to the truth too quickly. Does the Government not see that a tainted judiciary and the possibility of the uncertainty in the administration of justice is potentially destructive to its own interests, to the extent that those interests are separate and independent from the interests of the rakyat, as much as it to those of the rakyat?

And as for YB Nazri, what can be said has been said eloquently by KJ John in his latest comment for Malaysiakini ('Here's the crisis, Prime Minister!'):

"It is said that, in the country of the blind, the one-eyed is king. How true, but before our so-called law minister believes this to be so, let him be forewarned that more than 2,000 lawyers have already marched to say that they can see with both eyes and that they are not color-blind when it comes of issues of justice."

The Government should start taking this seriously. Lawyers talk of flood-gates. There is a tsunami on the way.


UPDATE: The Investigative Panel has since confirmed that it does not have any power and will be dependent on individuals voluntarily appearing before the Panel to provide evidence. Datuk Shankar is quoted as saying:

"The panel has got no legal power at all. The only authority that it has been given is these terms of reference and then to compile a report and send it to the appointing body. We have no power to administer oaths, to compel witnesses to come to us [...] We have no immunity under the law either."

This echoes a reiteration of the limited mandate of the Panel by Tan Sri Haidar who is quoted as confirming that the mandate is :

"confined to the authenticity of the video clip because we are not going into the merits of whether (there is any) truth of the content. Our terms of reference is to verify the video clip, stop there. After that is up to the government to decide."

(see Malaysiakini 'Haidar: We have no power' and 'Q&A: Don't throw stones at us')


Anonymous said...

The chances to reveal the truth looks bleak, from the setup of the impotent 3-man panel, the reaction from the govt, the progress of the case. More likely it the end, the whistleblowers and those involved of revealing the video could be charged

Hope my guess isn't right...

Mr. Smith said...

And what if the investigations finally reveal that the concerns of civil society were founded...?
No way. On the contrary, the panel will come up with some gobbledygook and mumbo-jumbo to save the 'CJ' hide.

Till this point in time the government is treating this video in the same vein as the close one eye MP's case.

Anonymous said...

the motive to set up the panel is very clear now. not to verify authenticity of the tape which acutally can be done easily by experts. the panel set-up is to buy time for the ACA ( at the bidding of the government) to go after the source. It is as clear as daylight now that the ACA s demanding from the messengers for the source or go to jail.
Now that it is clear that you all are being used by the government, I would exhort you all to resign now before your reputation is soiled further. Or like Tun Hamid, you guys are more concern about protecting your directorate and chairmanship position and the largesse that comes along?
No, there will be no compensation from the public if you made this sacrifice by resigning, but God will be your conscience. This will more than make up for all the wordly losses.

Anonymous said...


you ar on the dot now. the ACA is going after the messengers and the source and not the perpetrators of this scandal. now, thats justice from the islam hadhari promoters.

Anonymous said...

So everyone, especially Lawyers, should understanding by now on what the 3-panel can do and will do (or more precise, NOTHING CAN BE DONE!)

Should it be the time for the Bar to get the vote over its own website or or e-mail to consolidate the voting from their members, IF TO GO FOR RCI.

At this age of IT, get the voting by e-mail, I am sure it should be more than the last WALK.

There is one suggestion from the BAR Website.
I believe when Sivarasa and Sim are being BIAS by ACA they should get an injunction from the Court to stop ACA from doing so thereby via the legal procedures to achieve their wish to trade-off. (details also from the same web page).

If the court refused to grant the injunction on a fair and sound ground, then, the LAWYERS, should make a peace WALK around that court to symbolic a protest but cannot BOYCOTT as LAWYERS should be responsible also to their clients and should help to maintain the normal "business" of the court.

Since the Panel has "not power" to oversee the judiciary system. Let the court be proved that they are still "independent", except with the intervention of AG (if I am correct).


Anonymous said...

10 November Saturday, 3pm Dataran Merdeka - walk to the Istana

09/10: Tuntut pilihan raya adil - Perhimpunan Rakyat 10 November ini di Dataran Merdeka

Intan Abdullah

Gabungan Menuntut Pilihan Raya Bersih dan Adil (BERSIH) akan menganjurkan satu perhimpunan raksasa yang dinamakan perhimpunan rakyat pada Sabtu 10 November ini di Dataran Merdeka.

Dalam satu pengumuman yang dibuat pada sidang media hari ini, BERSIH dijangka akan mengadakan perhimpunan tersebut bermula jam 3 petang.

"Perhimpunan tersebut seterusnya akan berarak ke Istana Negara bagi menyerahkan memorandum tuntutan rakyat kepada Yang di-Pertuan Agong untuk menyuarakan hasrat rakyat untuk menjalani pilihan raya yang bersih dan adil seperti yang terkandung di dalam tuntutan BERSIH sebelum ini," ujar wakil Jawatankuasa Bersih di Pejabat Agung PAS, Jalan Raja Laut tengahari tadi.

Menurut Jawatankuasa BERSIH, Sivarasa Rasiah, ia juga sebagai satu ketetapan yang telah diambil oleh mereka yang menjangkakan bahawa pilihan raya umum ke-12 akan diadakan seawal November.

"Kami membuat telahan tersebut berdasarkan situasi Umno-BN yang kini berada keadaan terdesak, setelah melalui dua insiden yang menekan mereka iaitu peristiwa berdarah di Batu Buruk serta pendedahan video klip rasuah peguam dan hakim negara," jelasnya.

Perdana Menteri, Dato' Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi ujarnya mungkin akan membuat pengumuman tarikh PRU 12 lebih awal untuk mengeluarkan diri mereka daripada tekanan-tekanan tersebut sepertimana yang dibuat oleh PM sebelumnya pada PRU 1999.

"Ia adalah suatu jangkaan kritikal dibuat BERSIH berbeza dengan beberapa tekaan yang dibuat oleh beberapa parti politik sebelum ini," ujar AJK PAS Pusat, Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad pula,

Tindakan mengadakan perhimpunan tersebut adalah rentetan daripada resolusi Konvensyen Rakyat beberapa bulan yang lalu.

Koordinator Badan Penggerak Demokrasi Rakyat, Anuar Tahir berkata tarikh pilihan raya bukan suatu fokus yang utama bagi BERSIH sebaliknya tuntutan reformasi rakyat terhadap perjalanan pilihan raya perlu terus dihidupkan.

"Kerana ia mungkin akan mengundang kecurangan dalam PRU 12 sebagaimana yang berlaku dalam PRU 2004 yang lalu," jelasnya.

Penganjur juga ujarnya sedang berusaha menyelesaikan urusan mendapatkan permit untuk mengadakan perhimpunan tersebut, serta telah menggerakkan ahli-ahli parti atau pertubuhan yang bergabung dalam gabungan tersebut bagi menjayakannya.

"Kami juga telah bersiap sedia dengan sebarang kemungkinan dan risiko yang bakal berlaku nanti," tambah Sivarasa.

Sementara itu, dalam sidang media yang sama BERSIH turut memaklumkan bahawa mereka akan menghantar surat kepada Suruhanjaya Hak Asasi Manusia (Suhakam) berhubung isu tragedi berdarah di Batu Buruk pada 8 September lalu.

"Setelah mengadakan mesyuarat hari ini, kami membuat keputusan untuk menghantar surat kepada Suhakam mengenai permintaan kami agar diadakan satu siasatan menyeluruh terhadap tragedi tersebut memandangkan Pesuruhjaya Suhakam, Dato' Siva Subramaniam telah membawanya ke mesyuarat mereka semalam," ujarnya.

Bersih berharap akan mendapat keputusan yang positif daripada hasil mesyuarat tersebut, seterusnya membawa kepada tindakan bersepadu supaya perkara tersebut tidak akan berulang.

"Malangnya, media arus perdana sengaja memainkan taktik 'kewartawanan jahat' yang sentiasa diulang tayangan menyebabkan persepsi buruk rakyat kepada Bersih dan parti pembangkang," tambah Dr Dzulkefly.

Bersih menyatakan kekesalan dan menyelar tindakan parti pemerintah yang menggunakan media arus perdana sebagai jentera menyebarkan propaganda jahat serta kempen untuk merosakkan imej parti-parti pembangkang.