Ahmad Fairuz should be sensitive to public opinion by ensuring that the Anwar corruption appeal before Federal Court is heard and disposed off before Anwar's completion of his jail sentence on April 14

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya,  Wednesday): The new Chief Justice of the Federal Court, Tan Sri Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim said on his first day in office on Monday that he welcomed public complaints on defects in the administration of the judicial system in his commitment to create an efficient judicial system which is transparent and has a good relationship with all branches of government and the Bar Council.

He invited the public to write to him if they have complaints and he would personally look into the matter.

I am acting on Ahmad Fairuz's open invitation and am sending this first complaint to him publicly in view of the urgency of the matter and hope that he could act on this public complaint with all the necessary dispatch in the interests of public confidence in the independence and efficiency of the judiciary.

Ahmad Fairuz is beginning his tenure as the head of the judiciary in the face of a blatant blot on the judiciary, the Federal Court hearing of the appeal by Anwar Ibrahim against his sentence and conviction for corruption, which was earlier scheduled for yesterday but was postponed indefinitely as a result of Ahmad Fairuz's approval of the last-minute application by the Attorney-General for a five-judge quorum instead of the three judges already assigned.

There is no objection to the decision to appoint a five-judge quorum in view of the gravity of the case, and this was in fact why Anwar had earlier applied for a five-judge bench but to no avail.

However, the approval for a five-judge quorum to hear Anwar's Federal Court appeal for corruption conviction and sentence should not cause a miscarriage of justice, which would be the case if the Federal Court hears the appeal after Anwar had completed his jail sentence - as such a ridiculous event would be utterly unjust to Anwar and expose the judiciary to public ridicule and contempt.

As Anwar would be completing his six-year corruption sentence in 16 days on April 14, taking into account the one-third remission for prisoners for good behaviour, Ahmad Fairuz should take immediate action not only to empanel the five-judge quorum for Anwar's Federal Court appeal on corruption, but ensure that the five-judge court hears and delivers judgement before April 14.


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman