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As Fairuz’ extension as Chief Justice will provoke a new firestorm of nation-wide protests, plunging the new crisis of confidence in the judiciary to its nadir, Abdullah should avert the controversy by submitting a nominee for Chief Justice to the Conference of Rulers next week

Media Statement (2)         
by Lim Kit Siang  

(Parliament, Thursday): The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should be fully aware that any extension of the tenure of Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim as Chief Justice from next month, whether for six or two months, will provoke a new firestorm of nation-wide protests from lawyers, the civil society and Malaysians, plunging the new crisis of confidence in the judiciary which had haunted the nation for the past month because of the Lingam Tape scandal, to its nadir.

It would mean that Abdullah would have a judicial crisis of confidence which is not inherited from the previous Mahathir era, but a complete product of the Abdullah premiership.

Abdullah should avert such a controversy by submitting a nominee as new Chief Justice to succeed Fairuz to the Conference of Rulers next week.

Ahmad Fairuz’ position as an outstanding Chief Justice has not been helped by recent revelation of his poor record in writing judgments, with only four reported judgments in his name in his four years seven months as Chief Justice, – i.e. less than one judgment per year!

Ahmad Fairuz’ poor record of written judgments as revealed by the Malaysian Bar website – seven judgments in his seven years a High Court judge, 35 judgments in five years as Court of Appeal judge and seven judgments in seven years as Federal Court judge – raises many disturbing questions about his judicial performance, including how a High Court judge who had only a record of seven judgments in seven years could be promoted to the Court of Appeal.

It will make nonsense of judicial accountability, integrity and quality if Ahmad Fairuz could get an extension as Chief Justice after a long list of judicial misconduct and failure of judicial leadership in his 55 months as the highest judicial officer of the land, whether his “silence” on the Lingam Tape scandal on the perversion of the course of justice concerning fixing of judicial appointments and judicial decisions; the proposal for the abolition of the English common law and most important of all, his failure to build on the efforts of his predecessor Tun Dzaiddin Abdullah to restore national and international confidence in the independence, integrity and quality of the judiciary to the international respect and esteem enjoyed under the most distinguished and prestigious Lord Presidents such as Tun Suffian, Tun Raja Azlan Shah and Tun Saleh Abas.


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

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