When Hamid Sultan Abu Backer, a Court of Appeal Judge, exposed last month (14 Feb) that there were members of the judiciary who have been working with private parties to scam the government, almost everybody was stunned. While the public knew the existence of Kangaroo Court, they hadn’t the clue that the judges were such a scumbag in swindling public funds.
You don’t have to be a smart, dedicated and clean judge to get a promotion. In fact, such judges would not be promoted at all. Judges were promoted either because they happened to attend the same school or because they simply followed the orders of other top judges. Not only judges who refused to follow orders were denied promotion, they would most often than not harassed.
As a result, Malaysia’s judicial system operates like a business cartel – a gangland of corrupt judges working hand-in-glove with executives to make money. The reward could be extraordinary, as can be seen in the 2009 Perak Constitutional Crisis which brought down the now-defunct Pakatan Rakyat government so that Najib could snatch back the Perak state using illegal and despicable methods.
Yes, we’re talking about then-Chief Justice Zaki Azmi and UMNO top lawyer Hafarizam Harun. As a reward for their roles in helping former Prime Minister Najib Razak, a RM2.2 billion contract for the 50-km Kinrara-Damansara Expressway (Kidex) project was gifted to Emrail Sdn Bhd and Zabima Engineering Sdn Bhd – companies owned by Zaki and Hafarizam.
After Court of Appeal Judge Hamid told all and sundry that top judges in the country were the tyrants in the Palace of Justice, there’s one person who wasn’t surprised with the explosive affidavit. That person is none other than Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. While every Tom, Dick and his hamster demanded for a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI), Mahathir wasn’t keen on such an idea.
Initially, Mahathir said the government would study the proposal to set up an RCI, but he was also quick to add – “However, we don’t really run down the judiciary openly.” Very few actually asked the real meaning behind the 93-year-old premier’s statement. Exactly why did the old man give an impression that the judiciary was somehow “untouchable”?
A week after the judicial misconduct was exposed, PM Mahathir announced the setting up of an RCI to investigate the allegations of scams between certain top judges and private litigants to cheat the government. However, close to a month after the setting up of the RCI, the terms have yet to be determined. So, was Mahathir government serious about this so-called RCI?
Mahathir, having ruled from 1981 to 2003 before returning as premier again last May, knew more than anyone that RCI has been just a toothless tiger. Who can forget the RCI into the Lingam tape, set up in 2007 to investigate lawyer V.K. Lingam after he was caught on a video clip boasting about how he could arrange judges’ appointments through his political and business contacts?
There was even a photo of Lingam and former Chief Justice Tun Eusoff Chin fishing side by side at New Zealand’s Lake Wakatipu. Yet, nothing was done after the royal panel found there was evidence that lawyer V.K. Lingam had committed criminal misbehaviour. It would take the Federal Court another 10 years (2017) to sentence the despicable lawyer to six months in jail.
Even then, he was found guilty of contempt of court for accusing a federal court judge of plagiarism in a written judgment, not because of his role in brokering the appointments and promotions of judges in the country. But Lingam never gets to be sent to prison. For two years, he enjoyed his luxurious lifestyle overseas and escaped jail – applying to set aside his conviction and jail term.
Lingam actually left the country in 2013 and had not returned, postponing multiple court proceedings using medical certificates to argue he was unfit to travel. It would take Chief Justice Richard Malanjum, who headed the Federal Court five-man bench, to set aside Lingam conviction for contempt of court and six months jail in January this year.
If a lawyer like Lingam could play the judiciary system from 2007 until 2019, and still nowhere to be found in prison, imagine what a heavyweight like ex-PM Najib could manipulate with the system after plundering and stealing billions of dollars. Crooks like Lingam and Najib have very little respect for the judiciary system.
Najib had defiantly and deliberately refused to enter the “dock” during the case management over his 25 charges of graft and money laundering relating to transactions amounting to RM2.3 billion linked to 1MDB. He had freely and silently walked out of the court room for a so-called “toilet break” while the legal proceedings were ongoing, not to mention sleeping in front of a three-member Court of Appeal bench.
Heck, even Najib’s own hotshot lawyer – Shafee Abdullah – joined the bandwagon, using his pet dog as an excuse to delay his client’s trial. Amazingly, all the judges appeared to be on Najib and Shafee’s side, allowing them to do as they wish. When Mahathir said “we don’t really run down the judiciary openly,” what he actually meant was the judiciary is so broken and corrupted it’s beyond repair.
To clean up the judicial will require the firing of at least 80% of the judges, a process which will definitely cripple the system and create massive havoc. That’s why Mahathir said the government cannot run down the judiciary. But there’re many ways to skin the fat cats of the past corrupt politicians of the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) regime.
One of the fastest ways is to set up a Special High Court and Special Appeal Court specifically for corruption cases, as suggested by PM Mahathir two days ago (19 March) . The new government was frustrated as judges still loyal to the crooked Najib’s regime have used the excuse that they were too busy handling other cases to expedite the graft trial of former premier Najib Razak.
In the same breath, the proposal to establish the Special High Court could also mean that more crooks under the previous BN government would be investigated and slapped with charges. It also shows the seriousness of the corruption problem affecting the country. So, crooks have every reason to worry about this latest proposal.
There would be no excuses to delay the trials on corruption cases anymore. More importantly, clean judges can be cherry picked to head the special court. Still, the government cannot set up a Special High Court overnight. It will require new laws to legitimise the new court. Clearly, this is a shortcut to bypass the corrupt top judges who are still in control of the Kangaroo Court.
Source : Finance Twitter