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Justice delayed is justice denied. But sad to say that its nothing more than just a maxim in this country.

Press Statement
by Ronnie Liu Tian Khiew

(Petaling Jaya, Thursday):

Case 1: 50 years. Mentakap. Land tussle. 5 out of 6 plaintiffs have passed away.  Dispute started in 1955. Case started in 1963 in Raub. In 1985, case transferred to Kuantan. In 2002, case transferred to Temerloh, plaintiffs finally won the case in August 2005. Land must be returned to rightful owner within 12 months.(Guangming Daily , 18 Aug 2005)

Case 2: 22 years. Ipoh. Death caused by negligence. Widow won the case in December 2004. Received only RM10, 000 as compensation.( Guangming Daily , 18 Aug 2005)

Case 3:  25 years. Pahang. State authority demolished house built on TOL land. Case started in 1979 in Kuantan. High Court judge Datuk Shaik Daud Ismail heard the case in May 1984. Tan Sri Lamain Yunus took over in May 1988. In November 1994, plaintiff submitted written submissions but it was not until December 1997 that Lamin delivered his judgment. Appeal filed immediately to Court of Appeal and dismissed in May 2003.  Couple won the case in Federal Court on August 17, 2005 but only actual damages are granted.(NST 18 Aug 2005)


Justice delayed is justice denied. But sad to say that its nothing more than just a maxim in this country.

Lawyer Shakuntala Sharma describes such delay as disgraceful wait (NST 18 Aug 2005).

Attorney General Tan Sri Gani Patail claims that is mainly due to the lawyers (NST 18 Aug 2005).

The Sg Chua 20 families Vs Sunway Group is another glaring example.

The villagers who have lost their homes to the SILK project developer have been complaining that the Court of Appeal is taking too long to decide a date for their appeal. Their feeling is understandable, as many of them have suffered a great deal after losing their own shelters. How many more years do they need to wait before the justice is done? And how long could they wait, as some of them are elderly people?

They have taken the Ulu Langat Land office, the Selangor State Government  and the developer Sunway Corporation to task some one and half years ago.

Some of the families only received RM25, 000 each for a house they have built and lived for generations. They were forced to fight it out in court as they believed that they were not rightfully compensated by the developer or the state authority.

The case was dismissed by Shah Alam High Court judge Datuk Zaleha in early 2004. Appeal was filed immediately at the Court of Appeal. Nothing can move in the Court of Appeal as the High Court judge has yet to deliver her written judgment on the matter until today.

I issued a statement with the same title on Tuesday, 17 August 2004 (then national publicity secretary of DAP) after learning from the press that the hearing of two murder cases can only begin at the end of 2007 because the Shah Alam High Court has too many case lined up.

The first case involves Kher Then Heng, 26, who was charged with killing See Sheau Feng together with his brother still at large on March 28 at the house in Sijangkang, Banting. In the second case, a pregnant Salina Abdul Shukor, 26, was charged with causing the death of her three-year-old son Syakir Abdul Aziz between April 4 and 7 at the their squatter home in Kampung Pinggir, Lembah Jaya Selatan in Ampang Jaya.

Both were to be detained in the police lock-up or prison as both were charged under Section 302 of the Penal Code, which carries the death penalty upon conviction.

What is going to happen if both of them are acquitted three or four years later upon completion of their cases? As a person is innocent until he/she is proven guilty is the cornerstone of the modern laws, what has taken place at the High Court in Shah Alam must be viewed seriously by the heads of the judiciary and the Government.

Nevertheless, both the cases were brought forward slightly earlier after the intervention of the Chief Justice.

Justice delayed is justice denied. What have happened to Anwar Ibrahim and Sg Chua residents were not acceptable.

We noted that the Chief Justice Datuk Ahmad Fairuz has announced publicly on 5 August 2004 that all murder cases should be heard within a year.The complaint about too many backlogs in the courts is not new.

We were tired of excuses. We expect judges to write judgment immediately after the completion of cases. We also want to see cases be fixed and dealt with early. If the AG, the Chief Justice and the Prime Minister still believe in justice delayed is justice denied, they should help to answer some of these questions.


* Ronnie Liu Tian Khiew, DAP International Secretary and NGO bureau chief

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