Damian S. L. Yeo & L. C. Goh (DSLY)
No. 2007, Lorong Sidang Omar, off Jalan Penghulu Abbas, Bukit Baru, Hang Tuah Jaya, 75100 Melaka

Tel : 06-2347011
& 06-2347012
Fax: 06-2347022


Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Daulat Tuanku

Thank God for the Rulers. I must say at the end of the day, justice will always prevail no matter how long and how much it takes because God is in control not the government of the day. There are laws to follow and as such follow the law laid down by the Constitution and Parliament. The government of the day cannot at anytime do in their wimps and fancy, dictating terms as though they are the royals.

I must admire the boldness of the Rulers in flexing their Highnesses muscles to protect the constitutional foundation of our country thus providing proper check and balance on the administration and that includes the Judiciary. At times when there is a gloomy day, there is always a ray of hope that will take precedence over it. And this time it came from the Conference of Rulers.

----- News taken from The Straits Times, Singapore

KUALA LUMPUR - MALAYSIA'S sultans have refused to endorse the government's candidate for a key judicial post, setting the stage for a possible impasse between the rulers and the administration.

The Conference of Rulers last month asked Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi to reconsider the candidate named for the post of Chief Judge of Malaya (CJM), the third highest-ranking official in the judiciary.

The Constitution requires the Prime Minister to 'consult' the Conference of Rulers, comprising the nine hereditary rulers, and their highly unusual move to withhold approval has created a stir in the legal fraternity.

The position of CJM has been vacant for seven months since Tan Sri Siti Norma Yaakob retired in January. There are currently eight judges in the Federal Court who qualify for the appointment.

'There were concerns as to why the candidate was picked over three other more senior judges,' said a source, alluding to a possible reason for the lack of royal approval.

When asked by reporters about the matter, Chief Justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim declined comment, saying judicial appointments were a confidential matter classified under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).

Under the Malaysian Constitution, the rulers are to be consulted on certain key government appointments such as judges or members of the Election Commission.

In the case of judicial appointments, the Prime Minister makes the recommendations after discussing with the Chief Justice.

However, while they rarely reject recommendations, the Conference of Rulers has always been active in debating the appointments.

One of its most senior members, Sultan Azlan Shah of Perak was head of the Malaysian judiciary in the 1970s. PM Abdullah is believed to have met the Perak Sultan over this matter.

Legal opinion is divided on whether the rulers' refusal to accept the candidate will stymie the appointment.

The Constitution is silent on this point, while in the case of Bills passed by Parliament, it states that they automatically become law after 60 days if the rulers withhold assent.

A similar case arose in 1999 when sacked deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim tried to disqualify judge Mokhtar Sidin from hearing his case.

He argued that the judge might be biased against him as he had represented the administration at a Conference of Rulers' meeting which declined to accept Datuk Mokhtar's appointment to the Court of Appeal.

Datuk Mokhtar was nevertheless subsequently appointed to the bench.

The court ruled then that 'to consult does not mean to consent', and the rulers' views are not binding on the prime minister.

However, in his 2004 book 'Constitutional Monarchy, Rule of Law and Good Governance', Sultan Azlan Shah noted that this goes against the grain and spirit of the Constitution.

The consultation process is meant as a mechanism of checks and balances, he argued.

Yesterday, Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz, who has been acting as CJM for almost seven months, would only reveal that the No 3 post would be filled before the end of the year.

But to add to the complexity, the post of the President of the Court of Appeal - the No 2 post - is currently also vacant following the death of Tan Sri Malek Ahmad in June.

Tun Ahmad Fairuz himself is also due for retirement in October.

1 comment:

dave said...

Just out of curiosity what information is secret under OSA. Did the CJ just "hantam sahaja" just to escape from answering?