(Petaling Jaya, Friday): The
Bar Council President, Mah Weng Kwai, should not talk like a Barisan Nasional
Minister telling the people to use the ballot box in the next general election
if they are not happy about the Federal Court’s decision on Wednesday
dismissing former Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s appeal
against conviction and six-year jail sentence for corruption.
was seriously trespassing outside his
proper parameters as Bar Council President and wading into electoral politics in
giving such a response – which in any event was completely misguided, having
got the doctrine of separation of powers upside down as a general election
is never meant to pass judgments on the judiciary but on the executive
and the legislature. Mah should know that the judiciary is supposed to be above
the hustle and bustle of electoral politics – unless he is unconsciously
implying that there had been improper executive interference with the Federal
Court judgment, explaining his reference to the ballot box.
his immediate reaction to the Federal Court judgment, Anwar
had told the court that the
decision was a “horrendous betrayal of the public confidence in the
question is what is Mah and the Bar
Council’s stand on the Federal Court judgment, whether there had been a
gross miscarriage of justice to the extent of seriously undermining the
restoration of national and international confidence in a just rule of law and a
truly independent judiciary in Malaysia.
and the Bar Council members cannot abdicate from their responsibility to make
such a judgment in line with their statutory and professional duties to uphold
the highest standards in the
administration of justice in the country by
claiming that they would
individually and separately use the ballot box in the next general election to
express their views.
as history would judge the Bar’s
role in the abysmal plunge in national and international confidence in the
independence of the judiciary in the past decade or so, until early last year;
history will also judge the Bar’s
role in the new crisis of the judiciary with the swift return of widespread
doubts about a just rule of law and a truly independent judiciary in Malaysia.
Bar Council and the Malayan Bar should meet urgently on this issue, decide on
whether the Federal Court judgment on the Anwar Ibrahim appeal marked
the return of a new crisis of confidence in the
judiciary, and the actions they should take accordingly .