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.

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Malaysia’s king dragged into riot

10 September 2007

 Malaysia’s king Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin has been dragged into last weekend rioting by 500 opposition party supporters that injured seven people when police broke up an illegal rally in his oil-rich northeastern Terengganu state.  

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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’s rulers openly confront their premier

4 September 2007

A confrontation between Malaysia’s nine hereditary rulers and their Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is now in the open: Raja Nazrin: Monarchy an integral part of nation

The Star today carries a Bernama report which says:

He (Raja Nazrin) said the Federal Constitution mandates the monarchy to be the guardian of the just rule of law, an impartial arbiter in the democratic process and an overseer of the pillars of state.  “Some believe that Rulers are supposed to do so in a purely ceremonial sense, but I would argue that this contradicts the true spirit, if not the letter, of the Federal Constitution,” he said. 

I reported that Malaysia is facing its worst constitutional crisis in my article, In Malaysia, the king asserts his power, on 28 August: 

Watch out for my next report.

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 »

Feud over Malaysian judiciary threatens Abdullah

23 August 2007

Show me proofAn unprecedented feud between Malaysia’s nine hereditary rulers and their Chief Justice, Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim, could lead to the sacking of senior judges, including Ahmad Fairuz himself, and force the resignation of prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, according to political analysts.  Read the rest of this entry »