I have given notice to move a substantive motion in next month’s Parliament demanding judicial accountability on the serious allegations of judicial impropriety made against the Chief Justice, Tun Eusuff Chin and Court of Appeal judge Datuk Mohtar Sidin

Bagan DAP "Welcome Back Lim Guan Eng with Honour" Dinner
Lim Kit Siang 

(Bagan, Tuesday): Under Parliamentary Standing Orders, the conduct and character of judges cannot be questioned or debated unless there is a substantive motion on the subject.

I have given notice to Parliament to table a substantive motion demanding judicial accountability on the serious allegations of judicial impropriety which have been made publicly against the Chief Justice, Tun Eusuff Chin and Court of Appeal judge, Datuk Mohtar Sidin.

My motion on Eusuff Chin and Mohtar Sidin reads:

"That this House, under Standing Order 36(8), 

"EXPRESSES grave concern at the  most serious allegations about judicial impropriety alleged in court in August  in the Asian Wall Street Journal  (AWSJ) defamation case, viz:

"NOTES that neither Tun Eusuff Chin nor Datuk Mohtar Sidin had responded or cleared their name although more than a month had passed since the allegations of judicial impropriety although they strike at the very core of public confidence in judicial independence and intetgrity;

"CALLS on Tun Eusuff Chin and Datuk Mohtar Sidin to appear before the full House of the Dewan Rakyat to answer the charges of judicial impropriety and to  defend their integrity."

Parliamentary convention requires a substantive motion to take precedence over all parliamentary including government business.  Unfortunately in Malaysia, as a result of the Barisan Nasional political hegemony caused by its unbroken two-thirds parliamentary majority  and the 18 year premiership of Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, the parliamentary tradition is to trample on established and universally recognised parliamentary conventions and practices.

The entire Cabinet has utter contempt for Parliament and Malaysia probably top  the Commonwealth parliamentary democracies in having the highest rate of Ministers playing truant and absenting themselves from Parliament.

In the last Parliamentary meeting in July for instance, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad never attended for a single sitting.

It is the rule rather than the exception to see the whole Ministerial bloc totally empty, without a single Minister present - which must be a rare sight  in Commonwealth Parliaments. There are Ministers who do not turn up in Parliament at all, whether to answer questions relating to their Ministry or to give an accountability about the performance of their Ministries.

So far, Malaysian Ministers can get away with such parliamentary irresponsibility because the Barisan Nasional is invariably re-elected into office with a two-third parliamentary majority - which has bred in the Barisan Ministers and MPs a political arrogance which is completely antithetical to the democratic culture and spirit of accountability, responsibility and transparency.

I do  not want to prejudge whether the Barisan Nasional Cabinet would again ride roughshod over parliamentary conventions and traditions by killing my substantive motion calling for judicial accountability on the serious allegations of judicial impropriety against the Chief Justice and a Court of Appeal judge by refusing to place the substantive motion as the first item of parliamentary business on the first day that Parliament reconvenes on Oct. 18.

In other Commonwealth Parliaments, the Speaker would have an important say to uphold parliamentary traditions and conventions, but in Malaysia, the political hegemony of the Barisan Nasional government in the past few decades have removed all such meaningful role and powers from the office of the Malaysian Speaker.  Let us wait and see whether  the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Abdullah Badawi can agree that my substantive motion would be given precedence over all parliamentary business and would be debated on Oct. 18.


*Lim Kit Siang - Malaysian Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Democratic Action Party Secretary-General & Member of Parliament for Tanjong