To say that the Malaysian judiciary is in a real mess may indeed be an understatement. The cancer of corruption, ineptness and laziness has spread throughout the judiciary.
Judges take the solemn oath to defend the Constitution but some of them pass judgements that are so atrocious. One wonders how on earth these people got elevated to the Bench in the first place! Many are not able to write judgements after they pronounce verdict. Obviously the dispensation of justice speedily is not their priority. They probably have not heard that justice delayed is justice denied and this has resulted in people languishing in Death Row for five or more years. The behaviour of such judges is totally unethical, immoral and unprofessional. Judges who are unable to write judgements have been promoted! So the rot continues.
In a recent court case involving malpractice with regard to the CLP, it was revealed that there was a Malay quota for CLP passes! In addition there was manipulation of scores — certain lawyers who obtained a meagre 15 per cent came out successful in the test! Given this scenario, it is pertinent to ask how long this hanky-panky has been going onsince the inception of the CLP? How many lawyers ‘passed’ the CLP through fraudulent means? How many such lawyers were elevated to the Bench? Small wonder then that such fake judges pass judgements that go against both the spirit and the letter of Constitutional provisions. Of course, fake judges cannot provide written judgements. Add to this the government policy of Islamisation of the judiciary similar to the trend in the civil service, in education and in the armed forces and we get a perfect recipe for uncertainty in every area of national life.
The judgments passed in respect of a non-Malay spouse coverting to Islam and converting children in the process and apostasy cases are frighteningly wrong in law. These judges are answerable or accountable to no one and so they get away with “murder” of the Constitution, the supreme law of the country. Take, for example, judges asking non-Muslims to go to the Sharia Court to seek redress in the case of a spouse, mostly men, coverting to Islam and converting his children too without the knowledge of the mother. In effect, such judges are asking non-Muslims to do something illegal. The Sharia Court was set up to handle cases involving Muslims. Period. With regard to apostasy there is nothing in the Koran that recommends punitive measures for anyone opting out of Islam. Rather, it is clearly stated that in Islam there is no compulsion. This is confirmed again and again by renowned Islamic scholars and religious experts.
While the government extols the virtues of Islam Hadhari as modern, liberal and progressive, the stark fact is that, ironically, since its introduction, the position of non-Muslims with regard to spousal conversion, conversion of children who are minors, and Muslims attempting to convert out of Islam has dramatically worsened.
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The government has remained deaf and dumb to the growing concerns of non-Muslims. Even enlightened Muslims are aghast at the extreme behaviour of religious department officials, Rela personnel and even the police. No attempt has been made to rectify grave injustices through legislative measures or constitutional amendments.
The rise in the prominence of the Sharia court came about following a constitutional amendment in 1988, initiated by a “half-past six PM” who had neither the wisdom nor the foresight to realise what injustices it would unleash. Later he had the cheek to say that he got away with the amendment! The so-called protectors of non-Muslim interests — the MCA, MIC and Gerakan — as always, demonstrated that they had nothing between their ears by keeping their mouths shut and sitting on their bums.
It is about time would-be judges faced an all-party Parliamentary Select Committee to be grilled on their stand such as conversion to Islam of a non-Muslim spouse, conversion of the children without the mother’s permission, custodial rights, rape, domestic violence, sexual harassment and single mothers. In addition, they should be required to sit for a test to determine their knowledge and understanding of the Constitution, the supreme law of the land. If an IQ test can be included, it would improve the selection process and also determine whether they are fit to be called “Yang Ariff”.
The case of Moorthy, Suresh and Revthy, Subashini, Lina Joy and others clearly indicate the failure of the presiding judges to interpret the Constitution correctly. Not many people could conclude that the judgments in respect of the above cases are just.
Perhaps, the only hope is for the Agong, aided by his brother rulers, to dismiss judges who are unfit for the Bench.
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