UMNO President and Barisan Nasional Chairman Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi should apologise for his Wednesday speech at the Muafakat Nasional ceramah in the Tanjong Piai by-election campaign where he committed contemp0t of court with his reckless and irresponsible statement attacking the integrity of a magistrate.
In his speech, Zahid had questioned the Johor Bahru Magistrate Court’s decision to acquit the driver involved in the accident in which eight teenagers were killed.
In the ruling last month, magistrate Siti Hajar Ali released Sam Ke Ting, 24, without having her called to the stand after finding the prosecution to have failed to prove a prima facie case.
In her judgment, Siti Hajar said the court took into consideration several factors, namely that it was a dark, hilly and winding road where the driver – who was not local to the area – could not foresee that there would be a bicycle gang on the road at three o’clock in the morning.
The magistrate added that the bicycle gang had put themselves in danger.
Siti Hajar said investigations found that Sam was not under the influence of alcohol, was not using her phone, and wore a seatbelt while driving, proving that the accused was driving responsibly and carefully.
The rule of law is one of the institutional reforms that the Pakatan Harapan Government is committed to restore and the fact that the former Deputy Prime Minister-cum-Home Minister could make such reckless and contemptuous attack on the independence, impartiality and integrity of the judiciary is indication of the magnitude of the problems about the rule of law and an independent judociary under the previous regime.
The Barisan Nasional candidate for Tanjong Piai, Datuk Seri Dr. Wee Jeck Seng should also dare to speak out bravely and reprimand Zahid for committing contempt of court and ask Zahid to retract and apologise for his reckless speech.
This is in fact an acid test whether Wee Jeck Seng dare to speak up for truth and justice, without fear or favour as he is promising to restore check-and-balance in the political system.