Sadly, Chief Justice Zaki Azmi continues to sit silently in his very secure and staid chamber in the Palace of Justice (which he once was parachuted into) as the judiciary slides further down the slippery slope, laments Martin Jalleh.
In a recent article entitled “Charge N H Chan for contempt or resign, CJ”, I highlighted the public‘s “scandalous” perception of the judiciary and wrote that the public has grown in confidence in critiquing the judiciary especially through the invaluable guidance of retired Justice N H Chan.
The much-respected retired judge had called certain judges in the appellate courts “imposters”, “intellectual and legal frauds”, “incompetent”, “inane”, “ignoramuses”, “inconsistent” and even an “idiotic” bunch!
In a searing critique, Chan has shredded into smithereens Chief Justice Zaki Azmi’s supposed judicial reform and laid bare the judicial sham with a lasting sting: “The general public does not respect such judges anymore! They have put themselves beyond the pale. Just like pariahs…”
N H Chan had also not spared the judges his very strong language in the cases related to the Perak constitutional crisis. He called some of them “bad”, “recalcitrant”, “Humpty Dumpty”, “myopic” and “one-sided” judges.
In the light of the severe critique of NH Chan, I argued that the CJ’s disturbing silence can be assumed to mean he agrees with Chan, which logically means that the CJ should resign for allowing the reputation of the judiciary to be sullied irreparably.
I suggested: “If the CJ disagrees with N H Chan’s criticisms, he should haul the former Court of Appeal judge into court and demand that the latter show cause for why he should not be cited for contempt! Does Zaki have the guts to take up the gauntlet (thrown down by Chan) or will he prefer to allow the judicial circus to go on?”
Response by N H Chan
In his response to my article which was reported in the Malaysian Insider, N H Chan said: “I’m not challenging them (the judiciary) but I will criticise them when they make wrong judgments… Martin Jalleh has challenged. I personally will never challenge. I’m a person who will not do anything stupid.”
Chan “vowed to continue speaking up on issues that he feels have perverted the law, drawing attention to the inconsistencies in the grounds of judgments delivered by the Federal Court and the Court of Appeal in the last two years, most notably the Perak controversy over the sacking of its mentri besar”.
“I’ll call a spade a spade,” declared NH Chan. The rakyat is indeed grateful to him for helping us identify the “spades” in the judiciary (who very ironically will cause the judiciary to bury itself). Surely, we will not expect more of the good retired judge than what he has already done so valiantly.
Sadly, Zaki Azmi continues to sit silently in his very secure and staid chamber in the Palace of Justice (which he once was parachuted into) as the judiciary slides further down the slippery slope and as its integrity self-disintegrates.
Suffering from a denial syndrome, the sedated and somnolent CJ seems satisfied with a judiciary that is viewed by the public with greater suspicion, scepticism and even scorn.
Foreign investors are shocked and shy away as they witness how the judiciary has allowed its independence and impartiality to be interfered with and how the judiciary presides over a sodomy case that could get rid of Anwar Ibrahim!
In his maiden speech as CJ, Zaki had “vowed to get tough on errant judges” whom he said formed a small group and of whom he accused of besmirching the image and reputation of the judiciary (The Star). Very evidently there remains the challenge for the CJ to translate his reiterated rhetoric into reality!
There also remains the strange silence from the Bar Council as the judiciary lies in shambles. In his statement on the recent Federal Court’s ruling that it had no jurisdiction to review its own decision, Aliran president P Ramakrishnan asked:
“When the ignorance of these judges was so gross and their decision so perverse, befuddled Malaysians are wondering why the Bar Council had nothing to say with regard to this ridiculous situation. Shouldn’t justice be their sole concern? Doesn’t this flagrant injustice as perpetrated by the Federal Court mean anything to them?”
Unless of course the Bar Council has decided to join in the judicial circus?
Martin Jalleh is a well-known political commentator.