Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Whither Judicial Independence?

“In fact, my own position will be reviewed to Minister of Law to give me more authority but that will take time. You can’t have responsibility without authority,”

“When you want to effect change you need to coordinate and re-organise. For example, if you want magistrates to be re-trained today I can’t do much about it. I will have to go to the Judicial and Legal Commission.

Read (The Star Online) Zaid may be made full-blown Law Minister

The independence of judiciary or Judicial independence is the doctrine that decisions of the judiciary must be impartial and not subject to influence from the other branches of government or from private or political interests.

Not long ago, there were polemics in the legal fraternity and Malaysian generally when the cabinet decided to establish the Law Ministry during the time of TDM. The simple argument is that with judiciary answerable to a member of the executives (in this case, the Law Minister), we have breached the basic principle of "Separation of Powers" which is essential in any system of constitutional democratic and governance such as ours. On that score, the ministerial post was later abolished.

With this latest news, are we now in the midst of revisiting the same? All the talks about judicial reforms, is this another case of one step forwards, two steps back? As if there weren't enough interference with the administration of justice already that we now need another one! Are there ulterior motives behind the moves, now that the present CJ is on his way out of office? I hope not.

To digress a bit, here is something from Suara Keadilan on comments made by our future "full blown" Law Minister concerning "party hopping" Read Tidak ada undang-undang larang pindah parti - Zaid Ibrahim

He was quoted to say the followings;

“Dulu saya pernah mencadangkan supaya buat undang-undang ini tetapi tidak ada siapa yang mahu,” katanya ketika sidang media Hari Persidangan Hak Asasi Manusia di salah sebuah hotel pagi ini.

Katanya mengenai ura-ura penghijrahan beramai-ramai Ahli Parlimen BN ke Pakatan Rakyat Zaid enggan mengulas lanjut tentang perkara itu dan hanya berkata “Lompatlah.”

While Paklah explicitly said that he'll do whatever he can to prevent the same, the de facto Law Minister seems to have other ideas. Bravo Mr. full-blown-Law-Minister-to-be!


Ismail N said...

"Tidak ada undang-undang larang pindah parti - Zaid Ibrahim" . Do you think he's making a statement of intent here? Thank god, he's not an MP.

Lawyer Kampung said...

Inilah masalah tak mahu think out of the box, taksub dengan caselaws precedent. Memanglah ada kes DUN Kelantan in 1992, penghakiman Supreme Court, saya tak ingat exact citation. Tetapi, fakta kes boleh dibezakan, tidak jadi masalah.

Lawyer Kampung said...

Oh ya! My learned and most trusted "in-house" counsel, Rusmin,hahaha..reminded me on the following, the doctrine of "Legitimate Expectation" which the voters of that constituent have when they first voted the parliamentarian concerned that he'll be the same fella with the same banner over him throughout the terms without mutating himself or herself into an amphibian... That's one branch where our "test case" should differ with the Kelantan case.

Bro Mail, salam from rusmin to zaz and yourself.

Ismail N said...

Walaikum salam bro. Will pass the message to my wife. If you free, turun Johor raya.ok. I'll be there till 7th Oct.