Sunday, May 18, 2008

Constitutional process sabotaged'

Courtesy of a Post by kasee - in Malaysia-Today

Sunday, 18 May 2008
By : Elizabeth John and Sonia Ramachandran, NEW STRAITS TIMES

KUALA LUMPUR: "This kind of misbehaviour is so unprecedented that were it not for the release of the video clip, it may never have come to light."

This was a key conclusion of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Lingam video clip on questions revolving around the selection and appointment of judges.

The commission found not only outside influence in judicial appointments, but also sabotage and serious defaults in the constitutional process.

It said the misbehaviour ranged from acts and omissions which were morally objectionable, outside the norms of professional ethical standards and which constituted crimes.

Several instances of such misbehaviour observed by the commission were the appointment of the chief justice, chief judge of Malaya, Court of Appeal judges and High Court judges.

However, the question of the nature of sanctions provided by the law for this kind of misbehaviour remains unanswered.

The report, to be released to the public on Tuesday, said that there was extraneous evidence from Datuk V.K. Lingam that "he and his collaborators" sabotaged the late Tan Sri Malek Ahmad's candidacy for post of Chief Judge of Malaya.

It said this was done by influencing then prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

"Not to put too fine a point on this exercise, TSMA (Malek) was a victim of character assassination by third parties who had an axe to grind, and which he had no opportunity whatsoever to counter."

The commission felt that this would not have happened if Dr Mahathir had consulted the then chief justice Tun Mohamed Dzaiddin Abdullah as to why Malek was considered an unsuitable candidate.

The report said this meant the mandatory requirement of consultation had not been complied with, and called it a serious default in the constitutional process.

The commission also made a note of the fact that the former chief secretary to the government, Tan Sri Samsuddin Osman, had considered himself entitled to nominate prospective High Court judges.

"He does not seem to have considered that such an act on his part was in default of the relevant Federal Constitutional requirements," the report said.

It also called attention to the oaths taken by former chief justices Tun Mohd Eusoff Chin and Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim when they were appointed.

"We invite attention to these oaths to underline the fact that members of the administration and judges are not merely bound by contractual obligations to keep their promises but are bound by a sacrament which has to be honoured with the utmost fidelity."

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