What is worse, at one point of the interview, Rais used the future tense in reference to the committee, suggesting that it has not even been constituted, let alone started functioning, as when he said: "I will be chairing the co-ordinating committee (for the review of the justice system) and I need the co-operation of every segment of society."
Rais should clarify firstly, whether this committee he had been talking about in the past few months in lieu of action is a Cabinet Committee to review the system of justice, who are the members of the committee, what are its terms of reference, has it started operation, how is it going about its work, what is the time-frame for the completion of the committee’s work, would it invite public memorandum and representations on how to restore national and international confidence in judicial accountability, independence, impartiality and integrity and whether its report would be made public.
If Rais is heading a Cabinet Committee on the review of the justice system, then who are the other Cabinet Ministers on the Committee. If Rais is the sole Cabinet Minister on the committee, then this is probably the weakest Cabinet Committee ever established, as all Cabinet Committees up to now have quite a number of Cabinet representation. One example was the Cabinet Committee to review the implementation of the National Education Policy in the seventies which was headed by the then Education Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and had seven other Cabinet Ministers on the committee. In fact, I cannot recall there had ever been a Barisan Nasional Cabinet Committee which had only one solitary Cabinet Minister on it.
If the committee headed by Rais to review the judicial system is not a Cabinet committee, but a low-level inconsequential committee, there will be no public confidence that the government is serious in wanting to revamp and rejuvenate the judicial system to restore national and international confidence in the system of justice in Malaysia.
The first step Rais should do to convince Malaysians that his committee is serious and hihg-powered in reviewing the system of justice in Malaysia is to make public the memorandum on the judiciary including Proposals for Reform which was submitted by Malaysia’s eminent jurist, Justice Dr. Visu Sinnadurai, to the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister before he was victimised and forced to resign from the bench to join the World Bank as an international jurist.
Rais should not only make public the Visu Memorandum on Judicial Reforms, but welcome public debate and discussion to start off the process of review of the system of justice in Malaysia.
The Visu Memorandum, among other things, stated: