From the five extraordinary circumstances surrounding the release of Federal Court judgement, the Federal Court should explain and be accountable for the new injustice suffered by Guan Eng in the inordinate delay and the extraordinary circumstances in the handing down of the Federal Court judgement in the Guan Eng case.
The Federal Court quorum which heard Guan Eng’s appeal comprised Chief Justice Tun Mohd Eusoff Chin, Tan Sri Wan Adnan bin Ismail and Dr. Zakaria Yatim.
It is also quite extraordinary that the Federal Court Judgment had referred to the "grandfather" of the "underaged girl" implicated in the Rahim Tamby Cik case which was the subject-matter of Guan Eng’s prosecution, when there was no such "grandfather" but "grandmother".
The Lim Guan Eng v Public Prosecutor case is one of the high-profile cases highlighted by "Justice in Jeopardy: Malaysia 2000" as leading to "concern that the judiciary is attempting to silence, not just the Bar, but anyone who criticises the legal system".
The report said:
After reviewing the facts and the judgments in the Lim Guan Eng case,
the report said:
"The case and the sentences imposed have attracted widespread criticism. We are not surprised. The view has already been expressed that either the legislation or the courts’ interpretation of it demonstrates undue severity. Later in the report, in Part IV, the repeal of the Act is called for. With regard to the sentences imposed by the Court of Appeal, frankly, we were dismayed. Having regard to all the circumstances of the case, it is difficult to see how they could possibly be justified.
"The case has left us with relatively harsh laws which censor public
opinion about the working of the legal and judicial system and which merit
re-examination. The decision in Lim Guan Eng’s case strengthens rather
than mitigates the law relating to publications and seditions. This
feeling was reinforced in the mission’s discussions with the various persons
it was privileged to meet.
"The appellant appealed from the Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court but his appeal was dismissed, for some reason, without a reasoned judgment. This case leaves us with a number of deep concerns."
One such concern is the "apparent willingness of some members of the judiciary to try to stifle public comments on the state of the justice system" where "robust criticism is often unwelcome".
The Federal Court judgement avoided the issue highlighted by "Justice in Jeopardy: Malaysia 2000", that what Guan Eng did was an attack on selective prosecution and not an attack on the judiciary.
Chief Justice Tun Mohd Eusoff Chin said today that "Justice in Jeopardy: Malaysia 2000" was "one-sided" and regretted that it was published without his views.
He said he was not sent a copy of "Justice in Jeopardy: Malaysia 2000" despite being given an assurance that he would be asked for his comments before it was published.
An inquiry should surely be held to ascertain as to why when two copies of the 121-page report was sent to the Malaysian Permanent Mission in Geneva on Feb. 17 for Malaysia to give its response by March 15, copies were not made available to the Chief Justice and the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Dr. Rais Yatim who is in charge of the portfolio of law and justice.
In any event, the Chief Justice, Tun Mohd Eusoff Chin should publish a detailed response to "Justice in Jeopardy: Malaysia 2000", as it represents a devastating indictment of the system of justice and undemocratic governance in Malaysia and will mark the international legal community’s verdict of his tenure as Chief Justice unless rebutted.