He said the decision meant a lot to the country’s judiciary, which is facing credibility problem, adding: "This ruling will help improve the image of the Malaysian judiciary".
Musa is being too sanguine, as however welcome the High Court ruling on Param’s case, it is not good enough to restore national and international confidence in the independence, impartiality and integrity of the Malaysian judiciary and a just rule of law.
The Param case is only one of the long catalogue of cases and developments which had placed the Malaysian judicial system under international scrutiny, as testified by the damning indictment of the Malaysian system of justice by the latest international legal community report, Justice in Jeopardy: Malaysia 2000. This is why the the High Court ruling in Param’s case by itself would not staunch the haemorrhaging of national and international confidence in the system of justice.
The former Deputy Prime Minister must be aware of the views recently expressed by former Lord President Tun Suffian who said in March this year that after the Tun Salleh Abas judicial crisis in 1988, he had predicted that "the judiciary would take a whole generation to recover from the assault" but "Now that more than 12 years have elapsed, I doubt if the judiciary would recover in a generation from today".
If Tun Suffian is to be proven wrong that the judiciary cannot recover until the year 2012, and the process of restoration of national and international confidence in the independence, impartiality and integrity of the judiciary and a just rule of law in Malaysia is to begin now and not in 12 years’ time, then more must be done than the High Court ruling of Param’s case.
The most immediate and urgent task to start the process to restore confidence in the system of justice in Malaysia is to grapple with the greatest judicial dilemma in Malaysian history - that the highest judicial officer in the land had himself violated the Judges’ Code of Ethics.
In total disregard of the important principle of judicial accountability, the Chief Justice Tun Eusoff Chin had ignored public calls that he should clear the cloud of judicial impropriety and misconduct arising from his New Zealand holiday with lawyer Datuk V.K. Lingam in December 1994.
Although Eusoff had said that he had "coincidentally bumped" into Lingam in New Zealand, Malaysiakini and Asian Wall Street Journal had reported that Eusoff and Lingam flew together with their families for their Christmas holiday in Auckland and Christchurch from Singapore to New Zealand and back to Kuala Lumpur.
Although more allegations have since surfaced on the Internet raising more questions pertaining to his judicial impropriety and misconduct, even suggesting that he had not told the truth in his earlier explanation about his New Zealand holiday with Lingam, all falling directly under the Judges’ Code of Ethics, Eusoff had failed to give any satisfactory response, heedless of the maxim that judges must be more pure than Caesar’s wife - beyond suspicion - as the public must believe in the absolute integrity and impartiality of its judges.
Eusoff’s deafening silence in the face of such contradictory reports is totally subservsive of the process to restore public confidence in the accountability, independence, impartiality and integrity of the Malaysian judiciary as well as raising the question of the utility and relevance of the Judges’ Code of Ethics, when it could not cope with the issue of the Chief Justice violating the Code.
Public confidence can only be further undermined if Parliament, which reconvenes today, is not allowed to debate the nation’s greatest judicial crisis.
Parliament should decide at its current meeting how to salvage public confidence in the Judges’ Code of Ethics, by providing for a mechanism whereby it could be invoked against the Chief Justice himself for violation of the Code and requiring the Chief Justice to be suspended until such formal complaint of violation of the Judges’ Code had been investigated and disposed of.