Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz should ensure that the Federal Court immediately
deliver its judgment on the Anwar Ibrahim sodomy appeal without any further
delay to do justice to Anwar and to give true meaning to the judiciary’s
new commitment to accountability and transparency
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Friday): The introduction of an annual report of the judiciary by the Chief Justice of the Federal Court, Tan Sri Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim as the first “report card” on the judiciary’s performance for public scrutiny and appraisal is most welcome and commendable as it demonstrates the acceptance of the important principles of judicial accountability and transparency by the highest judicial officer of the land.
Although Ahmad Fairuz claims that statistics on civil cases shows that public confidence in the judiciary has been increasingly steadily, this cannot be the most conclusive evidence as I have no doubt that at any time in the past, even in the darkest era of the Malaysian judiciary, there would be similar statistics of increasing number of civil cases as compared to the past. In any event, this is only one of many measures – and not the most important - which reflect and determine public confidence in the judiciary.
To any independent and objective person, not just “armchair critics”, it is highly debatable whether substantive and meaningful measures have been taken to bring about institutional and structural changes to restore public confidence in the independence, impartiality and integrity of the judiciary after over a decade of ever-deepening judicial crisis of confidence which had plunged the Malaysian system of justice from a position of high world esteem into an object of national and international opprobrium.
Ahmad Fairuz’s inaugural annual report came at a time when national and international attention is focused on the inordinate and unjust Federal Court delay to deliver its judgment on the Anwar Ibrahim sodomy appeal, which was fixed for July 22 but postponed indefinitely at the eleventh hour without any explanation. More than two weeks have passed and there is no sign when the Federal Court judgment would be delivered, despite the maxim “Justice delayed is justice denied”.
As Anwar has rightly said, the Federal Court delay in delivering judgment on his sodomy appeal is directly and adversely impinging on his options with regard to his acute medical spinal problem – as Anwar would be free to seek the medical treatment of his choice in Munich, Germany in the event of the success of his Federal Court appeal.
Because of the gravity of his spinal complications, Anwar must decide on the treatment of his spinal problem within a week, as the government had obdurately refused to allow him to go abroad to seek the treatment of his choice.
Ahmad Fairuz should ensure that the Federal Court immediately deliver its judgment on the Anwar Ibrahim sodomy appeal without any delay to do justice to Anwar and to give true meaning to the judiciary’s new commitment to accountability and transparency
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader,
Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor & DAP National Chairman