Malaysianinsider | Martin Jalleh - 10 MARCH 2010
The integrity of the judiciary has been badly mauled by a legal who does not mince his words no matter how high or mighty a judge thinks he is. He has called a spade a spade and certain members of the judiciary an “incompetent” and even an “idiotic” bunch!
All the Chief Justice (CJ) and the judges in the Palace of Justice have managed to do is remain mum, mute and mumble amongst themselves as NH Chan methodically makes them out for who they really are and the mockery they have made of the law!
The respected, renowned and retired Justice NH Chan is very frustrated, fed-up and furious at how the judiciary which he had served so faithfully has been reduced to a farce run by those who are legal and intellectual frauds or what he has called “imposters”!
With each passing compromised judgment NH Chan unhesitatingly hits out at judges with an increasingly sharper sting. He leaves no stone unturned, no errant judge uncovered. They can “no longer mask their hyperbole judgments with unintelligible garbage”.
“Fools on the bench”
In his latest scathing critique, he said the rakyat is “stunned by the ignorance of our judges of the highest court in the land”, as seen in the recent Federal Court’s decision not to review Anwar Ibrahim’s application to review its previous decision dismissing his application for disclosure of documents for his second sodomy trial.
NH Chan (picture) said the Federal Court’s approach to Rule 137 of the Rules of the Federal Court 1995 was “inconsistent” and “dishonest” and “those ignoramuses” were talking “utter nonsense”. Those “inane judges cannot even understand plain English”! He put it very plainly and painfully!
Calling the three-member panel of Justice Zulkefli Ahmad Makinuddin, Mohd Ghazali Mohd Yusoff and Heliliah Mohd Yusof “incompetent”, he added “perhaps they were clowns as their statements were laughable”.
His searing criticism was that they “…do not know justice from injustice”, and that “such lowly individuals should never be allowed to sit on the seat of Justice…(and) to be judges at all. And yet there are so many of them in the judiciary today ever since the rot begun.”
He shredded into smithereens the “judicial renaissance” of the CJ: “Our country does not need impostors, who pose as judges, to deceive the common people any longer. The common citizenry can now uncover the impostors hiding beneath the mantle of the judicature.”
He laid bare the judicial sham: “With judges such as these in the Malaysian judiciary where, to them, the principles of the law are not to be consonant with justice to be manipulated by them to uphold injustice, it is no wonder that the errant judges have forfeited the confidence of the people. “
He left them with a stinging slap in the face: “The general public does not respect such judges anymore! They have put themselves beyond the pale. Just like pariahs. Don’t you think they should be despised?”
On High Court judge Justice Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah’s rejection of Anwar’s application to have the judge recuse himself from further hearing the sodomy trial, NH Chan said that the judge was talking “utter nonsense” and “knew next to nothing about judicial bias”.
He added that the “moral of this unsavoury episode” is this: if you appoint mediocre lawyers to the Bench you will get substandard judges. The solution to this problem is a simple one. Appoint judges from the cream of the legal profession and you will not find me assailing the judges for incompetence simply because I will not be able to do so.”
Such was his cutting conclusion: “It is only when we have fools on the bench that I can point out that what they have decided is not the law.”
“Bunch of idiots in high places”
NH Chan had not spared the judges in the cases related to the Perak constitutional crisis of his very strong language when scrutinising their decisions (with the exception of Kuala Lumpur High Court Justice Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahim whom he had praised).
He highlighted the “bad” and “perverse” judgments, especially those in the appellate courts, the collective written judgements which were “riddled with contradictions” and how the Perak and Federal Constitutions were toyed with and trampled on by the judges!
During the Perak debacle NH Chan had said that there are “many of our judges today especially among those judges in the higher echelon of the judicial hierarchy who do not seem to know the true meaning of separation of powers in constitutional law. This is most apparent.”
He called some of the judges of the cases of the Perak imbroglio: a) Bad judges — they “seem to think that independence means that they can do what they like” b) Recalcitrant judges — “they think that words can mean whatever they want them to mean” c) Humpty Dumpty judges — “they also think that they are independent of the legislature”.
NH Chan has brought to light how beholden the judiciary is to the Umno-dominated Government. He said the “so-called Perak crisis has brought out a host of cases that showed that the judges gave the impression that they were one-sided. The perception of the people is that they sided with the BN government.”
In the “shocking case” of Zambry v Sivakumar in the Federal Court, he called the judgment by the “infamous five” (judges) Alauddin Mohd Sheriff , Arifin Zakaria, Nik Hashim Ab Rahman, Augustine Paul and Ahmad Makinnuddin, a “perverse decision”.
In the case of Nizar vs Zambry he called the panel of five Federal Court judges made up of the President of the Court of Appeal Alauddin Mohd Sheriff, Chief Judge of Malaya Arifin Zakaria, Zulkefli Ahmad Makinuddin, Ghazali Mohd Yusoff and Abdul Hamid Embong, “myopic judges”.
They “were lost in a quagmire of confused thinking caused by their own incompetence. They found themselves deep in the forest unable to see the wood for the trees. Does this mean that we have a bunch of incompetent judges who sit in the highest court in the land?”
Alas, with the help of NH Chan the public especially those in Perak were able to see for themselves how members of the judiciary had left behind a dead constitution, “bad” and “perverse” decisions, dubious declaratory orders, judgments devoid of reasoned grounds, and disgraceful double standards.
Blind and Biased Judges
NH Chan has “judged the judges”. He considers them, especially those in the appellate courts’ “ignorant”, “inane”, “incompetent” and even “idiots” (which he has strongly inferred).
The public shares his view. In their eyes the judiciary has allowed itself to be intimidated, its independence and impartiality interfered with, and its integrity reduced to ignominy.
In the light of the severe criticism of NH Chan of the judiciary (which is quite unprecedented by a retired judge), surely the Chief Justice cannot stand idly, silently and stoically by — unless Zaki Azmi strenuously, staunchly and solemnly agrees with him!
Further if Zaki continues to remain silent the public will assume that he shares NH Chan’s searing criticism of the judiciary. Logically he would have to resign for he has allowed the reputation of the judiciary to be sullied irreparably.
The judicial shenanigans whom NH Chan has criticised and castigated should also resign for having shamelessly sacrificed justice on the altar of political expediency.
NH Chan’s comments on members of the judiciary have no doubt been bold, blunt and blistering. He has accused judges of being blind, biased and being a bunch of “idiots” and “fools”. He has thrown the gauntlet down.
If the CJ disagrees with NH Chan’s criticisms he should haul the former Court of Appeal judge into court and demand that the latter shows cause for why he should not be cited for contempt! Does Zaki have the guts to take up the gauntlet or will he prefer to allow the judicial circus to go on?
NH Chan has made no bones about it. His blitzkrieg on the judiciary will continue. “Bad guys” had better beware! He will ensure that their names remain in infamy for generations to come unless they recant the wrongs that they have done! He will even write their obituary and if they outlive him there will be others who will take his place!
NH Chan sees the next general elections as the only solution to an unsalvageable judiciary viewed by the public with greater suspicion, scepticism and even scorn. He once commented: “At the present time and judging by what we have experienced so far from the Perak takeover cases, the quality of most of our judges is suspect”.
“In the meantime what should we do with so many bad apples in the barrel? If only there could be a change in government in the next general elections with the opposition winning by a landslide. Then we could get rid of all the bad apples by Act of Parliament.”
* This article is the personal opinion of the writer or publication. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified.