The People’s Appeal To His Majesty The Yang DiPertuan Agung
On 19/9/2007, the nation was rocked by another scandal, this time in the form of a video clip which exposed what appears to be a telephone conversation between senior lawyer VK Lingam and another person, allegedly fixing the appointment of ‘friendly’ senior judges.
A careful study of the monologue presented in the video clip leaves a very clear impression that the telephone conversation is indeed between VK Lingam and the present CJ, Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim and relates to the appointment and promotion of judges. Other judges are also named in the course of the conversation.
That Tun Ahmad Fairuz had, subsequent to the release of the video clip, first responded that he would need to first view the video clip before saying anything, then issuing a ‘no comment’ response and only lately and that too through a third party making a bare denial of being a party to the conversation leaves us, the rakyat with a sense that Tun Ahmad Fairuz has not responded with complete candour on this matter.
This scandal now casts serious doubts on the suitability of Tun Ahmad Fairuz to head the judiciary as well as on the propriety of the appointments and promotions, made on the recommendation of Tun Ahmad Fairuz, of several judges of the High Courts, the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court.
We, the rakyat, no longer have any confidence whatsoever in the judiciary.
We, the rakyat have noted for some time that some very senior judges have been constantly overlooked in the numerous promotion exercises that have proceeded during the tenure of Tun Ahmad Fairuz, with junior judges being preferred.
We the rakyat have also noted that it was recently reported that Their Royal Highnesses acting through the Conference of Rulers rejected two nominations by Tun Fairuz for the position of President of the Court of Appeal and the Chief Judge of Malaya although these positions had been vacant for a long time. It is rumoured that those nominated by Tun Fairuz were junior in comparison with many other more senior serving judges.
We, the rakyat, have further noted that there is at least one judge promoted to the Federal Court who, it is reported, has failed to deliver written judgments in up to as many as 35 cases, with the result that appeals by many who have been convicted of offences and are in prison are unable to have their appeals heard.
This most recent scandal also raises again real concerns about the sudden change of the trial judge in an ongoing murder trial in Shah Alam.
We, the rakyat, are also gravely concerned about the recent decisions in several high-profile cases and whether these were ‘fixed’ by Tun Ahmad Fairuz and, if so, the implications it has in relation to the other judges of our superior courts.
The reaction of the Prime Minister, other members of his cabinet and the Attorney-General to the matter of this video clip give us, the rakyat, no reason at all to believe that this scandal will be honestly investigated so that the truth of the matter will never be known.
We, the rakyat, do not believe that the Prime Minister and his present government are committed to getting to the bottom of this scandal and, if ascertained to be the truth, to take all necessary steps to restore the judiciary as a constitutional institution emplaced to independently defend the constitution, the rights of the rakyat, and to uphold the rule of law.
In this regard, the announcement on 25/6/2007 by the Deputy Prime Minister of a 3-man panel to be headed by one who was implicated in the sacking of Tun Salleh Abas in 1988 to now investigate this scandal fortifies our belief that the present government is determined that the truth in relation to this scandal never becomes known.
We, the rakyat, are gravely concerned that if this scandal is left to be investigated by the administration of the Prime Minister, the police or the Anti-Corruption Agency, the rakyat will only witness another cover-up, leaving us, the rakyat without any recourse to justice, ever suspicious whether the judiciary is to protect the rakyat or the interests of a chosen few.
This most recent scandal raises concerns whether the corruption that has become so prevalent in the management of this country has now also made its way into the judiciary.
For these many reasons, we, the rakyat, now pray that Your Majesty may be so moved and in the exercise of the full powers conferred on Your Majesty to :-
- direct the establishment of a Royal Commission to inquire into, consider and/or determine whether in fact the conversation reflected in the said video clip did occur between VK Lingam and Tun Ahmad Fairuz and the veracity of the assertions made by VK Lingam in the said video clip and, if found to be so, that the Commission be further mandated to enquire into, consider and/or determine:-
1.1 the involvement of all those named in the said video clip in connection with the appointment and promotion of judges;
1.2 cases in which VK Lingam was involved and which were heard and / or decided by Tun Ahmad Fairuz and / or any of the other judges named in the said video clip;
1.3 all acts carried out by Tun Ahmad Fairuz during his tenure as Chief Judge of Malaya, President of the Court of Appeal and Chief Justice, more particularly:-
- the basis of the appointment and / or promotion of judges by Tun Ahmad Fairuz with particular emphasis on the other judges named in the said video clip;
- the manner in which the members of the panels of the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court were selected by Tun Ahmad Fairuz during his tenure as President of the Court of Appeal and Chief Justice; and
- the manner in which files were allocated to the panels of the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court by Tun Ahmad Fairuz during his tenure as President of the Court of Appeal and Chief Justice.
2. the Royal Commission having ascertained that the conversation reflected in the said video did occur between VK Lingam and Tun Ahmad Fairuz and assertions made by VK Lingam in the said video clip to be true, to :-
direct the Prime Minister to take all necessary steps to appoint a tribunal under Article 125 of the Federal Constitution to remove Tun Ahmad Fairuz and/or any and all judges found by the Commission to have been implicated, directly or otherwise by the acts of misconduct of Tun Ahmad Fairuz; and
direct the Prime Minister to take all necessary steps to suspend Tun Ahmad Fairuz and/or any and all judges found by the Commission to have been implicated, directly or otherwise by the acts of misconduct of Tun Ahmad Fairuz, pending the reference to and/or report of the tribunal.
3. direct the immediate establishment of an independent Commission for the appointment and promotion of judges to the High Courts, the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court.