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Press Statement by Karpal Singh in Kuala Lumpur on Friday, 13th February 2009:

Zaki not fit to head the JAC

The appointment of Tan Sri Zaki Tun Azmi to head the Judicial Appointments Commission is not a step in the right direction.

In my view, Tan Sri Zaki is not a fit and proper person to head the Judicial Appointments Commission or be a member of it. On 7th November, 2008 in Kuching Tan Sri Zaki publicly admitted he had bribed court officials when he was a practicing lawyer in 1987. His clarification the next day in the NST also reflects that he was aware of corruption in the court registry but did not report the matter to the police or to the Lord President, the head of the judiciary then, clearly reflecting a serious defect in character disentitling him to even being appointed Chief Justice last year.

On 13th November, 2008, I had lodged a police report against Tan Sri Zaki. Up to now, no statement has been recorded from me by the police.

In the case of the two police reports dated 7th February and 9th February, 2009 out of the 89 lodged against me throughout the country over my statement that the Sultan of Perak can be sued in court, I was called up by the police to give a statement on 11th February, 2009. Why this double standard in that my statement has been recorded in such unholy haste while in the case of my report against the Chief Justice, lodged as far back as 13th November, 2008 the police have yet to record my statement?

It goes without saying that there should be no double standards. No one, however high, is higher than the law. The law is no respecter of persons. The words of Sultan Raja Azlan Shah, when he was in the judiciary, ‘Be you never be so high, the law is higher than you’ bears repetition.

The government should seriously reconsider the appointment of Tan Sri Zaki to head the Judicial Appointments Commission. The judiciary needs persons of integrity, honesty and above all, absolute commitment in acting without fear or favour in the cause of justice irrespective of the standing of those who appear before it. Tan Sri Zaki is tainted and, therefore, does not have the right, moral or otherwise, to head the Judicial Appointments Commission.

In fact, in the sitting of Parliament commencing 16th February, 2009 a motion is being moved by me to discuss the conduct of Tan Sri Zaki under Article 127 of the Federal Constitution supported by 62 Members of Parliament.

* Karpal Singh, DAP National Chairman & MP for Bukit Gelugor



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