Malaysia’s great law pretenders

8 October 2007

A crisis in the judiciary brings out the ugly side of lawyers

Ambiga Sreenevasan, Bar Council ChairwomanThere is a saying, “when elephants fight, the grass is trampled.” And so it has been for Malaysia’s disgraced judiciary in the last 20 years. Former premier Mahathir Mohamad in 1988 sacked three senior judges, including his Lord President of the Supreme Court, in an acrimonious fight for control of the law courts. Since then, judges have been relentlessly accused of impropriety and corruption. And the judiciary and lawyers are once again troubled by new charges of delinquent judges and politically brokered judicial appointments.

Read the rest of this entry »


Waiting for a judicial break

24 September 2007

Palace of JusticeI know many of you are expecting a story from me on the embattled Malaysian judiciary. I can’t publish my story yet because I’m still waiting for a break. At this moment, except for innuendoes, we’ve no confirmation that Mr V K Lingam, the Malaysian lawyer in private practice, was brokering the appointment of judges with the Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim (then the Chief Judge of Malaya) as portrayed in the video clip recently released by former deputy premier Mr Anwar Ibrahim. Read the rest of this entry »

A reporter’s notebook

7 September 2007

Zaki AzmiThe past weeks have been particularly exciting and colourful in Malaysia. And today is another busy day. The sudden elevation of controversial lawyer Zaki Azmi (picture) to the Federal Court, the nation’s highest bench, has not only raised eyebrows but caused much unease among the legal fraternity and many Malaysians.

I leave you some of my notes: Read the rest of this entry »

Malaysia’s rulers vs Abdullah: Who’s the winner?

4 September 2007

Raja Nazrin ShahNow that it has become public, the question before 25 million Malaysians is: Who is likely to prevail in a confrontation between Malaysia’s Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and the 13-state Southeast Asian federation’s nine hereditary rulers over the constitutional role of the king. (See In Malaysia, the king asserts his power) 

King Mizan Zainal Abidin, 45, the 13th Yang di Pertuan Agong or supreme ruler, says his role isn’t purely ceremonial. Abdullah, however, says the king has no right to meddle in his administration.

Last night Raja Nazrin Shah, the crown prince of northern Perak state, told his audience at a public lecture in Kuala Lumpur, the national capital, that Abdullah is wrong.  Read the rest of this entry »

Malaysia considers switch to Islamic law

1 September 2007

from The Daily Telegraph

Prince Andrew looks on during a parade at the historic Merdeka Square in downtown Kuala Lumpur

Prince Andrew looks on during a parade at the historic Merdeka Square in downtown Kuala Lumpur
Hardline Islamic law could be introduced across Malaysia under reforms proposed by the country’s chief justice.

As the nation in south-east Asia celebrated 50 years of independence from Britain yesterday, its government was preparing to discuss a plan that would revolutionise the legal system put in place by its former colonial administrators. Read the rest of this entry »

Malaysia’s king has the say

30 August 2007

Hamid and Alauddin/NSTHamid and AlauddinHamid and Alauddin

Malaysia’s king Mizan Zainal Abidin has approved two new senior judicial appointments, ending an almost eight-month long stalemate with his prime minister and affirming that the country’s constitutional monarch has the final say in the appointment of judges, state officials and analysts say. Read the rest of this entry »

In Malaysia, the king asserts his power

28 August 2007

Sultan MizanMalaysia faces its worst constitutional crisis in 20 years as its king exercises his constitutional powers to reform the judiciary and the government of the 13-state Southeast Asian federation that has been undermined by charges of wasteful public spending, rising corruption and lawlessness, according to diplomats and political analysts. Read the rest of this entry »