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Challenge to Ahmad Fairuz to resign as Chief Justice if there is proof he lied and misled Nazri into misleading Parliament with his denial as having advocated abolition of Common Law in August

Media Statement          
by Lim Kit Siang  

(Parliament, Friday): Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim’s application for six-month extension as Chief Justice should be rejected as he has brought the judiciary into greater disrepute and a new crisis of confidence in the 55 months he was the highest judicial officer of the land.

In fact, in the past month Ahmad Fairuz had gone into hiding since the Lingam Tape expose by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim exactly a month ago, after the Chief Justice was implicated in the latest judicial scandal involving the perversion of the course of justice concerning the fixing of judicial appointments and court decisions – making total nonsense of the important principle of judicial accountability.

It is most scandalous that Ahmad Fairuz had not come out publicly to personally and categorically issue a denial of his involvement in the Lingam Tape scandal and had chosen instead to rely on the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz to bat for him and claim that Ahmad Fairuz had phoned him to deny that he was the one talking to Lingam.

Firstly, in depending on a Cabinet Minister to “clear” his name, Ahmad Fairuz had undermined the doctrine of the separation of powers and the important principle of the independence of the judiciary, making the Chief Justice and the head of the Judiciary subservient and beholden to the “favors” of a Cabinet Minister who is from the Executive.

Secondly, the “proxy” denial of Ahmad Fairuz through Nazri lacks credibility, as he had used this stratagem once to deny what he had actually advocated - the abolition of the English common law.

On 5th September 2007, Nazri replied in Parliament to my earlier speech criticizing Ahmad Fairuz’s call for the abolition of the common law system as being most unbecoming of the highest judicial officer of the land sworn to defend and uphold the Constitution and the Merdeka social contract.

Ahmad Fairuz had made such a call at the seminar on the thoughts and academic works of the late Tan Sri Ahmad Ibrahim on August 21, which made the front-page headline in the Utusan Malaysia the next day.

Nazri tried to give a very “slippery” reply. He gave a flat denial that Ahmad Fairuz had ever made such a call for the abolition of the common law system saying that the Chief Justice’s speech made no such mention whatsoever.

Nazri blamed reporters and their poor quality reporting for the mistake. However, when I asked why no correction had been made by Ahmad Fairuz for close to two weeks of the public controversy over his call, Nazri said Parliament was the best forum for the explanation.

Nazri’s explanation is completely unacceptable as under the doctrine of separation of powers, the Chief Justice should not depend on a Cabinet Minister to clarify and explain what the head of the judiciary had said and meant.

The Chief Justices of other Commonwealth countries where the doctrine of separation of powers are given meaningful respect do not depend on Cabinet Ministers to clarify their speeches and statements, and rightly so, and there is no reason why Malaysia should start going down such a slippery path where members of the judiciary have to compromise their independence by depending on members of the executive to extricate them from “tricky” situations of their own creation.

I have reasons to believe that Nazri had been misled by Ahmad Fairuz to mislead Parliament with the denial that the Chief Justice had proposed the abolition of the Common Law.

I challenge Ahmad Fairuz to surface publicly to deny that he had proposed the abolition of the English common law in August and to resign forthwith as Chief Justice if proof could be produced of his advocating the abolition of the Common Law in Malaysia in August this year.

This would have meant that Ahmad Fairuz had lied as well has having misled Nazri into misleading Parliament with his denial as having advocated abolition of Common Law in August.


* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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