More and more, law and in particular the discriminatory and selective manner in which it is administered is regarded by Malaysians as antithecal to the dispensation of justice, where courts of law have ceased to become courts of justice but have become courts of injustice.
The crisis of confidence in the judiciary today is even worse than the judiciary crisis in 1988, when the Lord President, Tun Salleh Abas and two Supreme Court judges were sacked when the judiciary lost its battle against the Prime Minister to safeguard its judicial independence.
Malaysians had hoped that a decade after the 1988 judicial crisis, the judiciary would have recovered its independence and regained public confidence in its independence from executive interference.
But the reverse has taken place, as never before in Malaysian history have all the institutions of state concerned with law and justice come under greater public suspicion.
The eerie silence of the government to the four Anwar Ibrahim police reports about corruption and abuses of power at the highest government levels, naming the Prime Minister, the first Finance Minister, the Minister for International Trade and Industry, the former Malacca Chief Minister, and the two highest law officers in the land, including the Attorney-General have only aggravated the crisis of confidence in the independence of the judiciary and the system of justice in Malaysia.
What is worse, for the first time in Malaysian history, the integrity of the highest judicial officers in the land have also been questioned and challenged, as during a defamation court proceeding on Monday.
This is most disturbing especially as there had been no full probe or accounting for the 112 allegations of corruption, abuses of power and misconduct against 12 judges made by none other than a High Court judge three years ago.
The Malaysian judiciary and the system of justice in Malaysia will be in the dock when Commonwealth lawyers gather in Kuala Lumpur for the Commonwealth Law Conference on "Law and Society in the 21st Century", and all eyes will be on the Prime Minister, who is opening the Conference, as to whether he has the political will to announce an action plan to end the worst crisis of confidence in the independence of the judiciary and the sytem of justice in Malaysian history, or he will put up another display of perverse Mahathirish illogic to defend the Malaysian government’s "sovereign right" to subordinate the judiciary to the dictates of the Executive.