Independent judiciary: PPBM must keep its word, say lawyers

Source: Free Malaysia Today

Pic drawn from FMT News

An independent judiciary is a welcome idea, as there is little transparency nor accountability in the appointment and promotion of judges, says Paulsen. – Pic drawn from FMT News

SHAH ALAM: To realise an independent judiciary, it is important for all parties within Pakatan Harapan (PH) to be of one mind, said human rights lawyer Eric Paulsen.

“As a coalition, it will be difficult for any one top leader to make decisions on his own.

“Therefore, if an independent judiciary is on PPBM’s manifesto, then it is up to the coalition as a whole to keep that promise,” he said.

He was responding to a proposal by PPBM chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad, at the party’s annual general meeting on Saturday, to restore the independence of the judiciary should PH take over Putrajaya in the next general election (GE14).

Paulsen said Mahathir must be reminded that it was during his administration that the judiciary came under its worst attack with the sacking of the then Lord President. Read more

Pakatan backs calls to curb PM’s power to appoint, promote judges

Source: The Malaysian Insight

The Malaysian Insight

The current laws do not oblige the prime minister to give any reason if he rejected judges nominated by the Judicial Appointments Commission, which gives the perception that Malaysia’s judiciary lacks independence. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, December 12, 2017.

THE power of the prime minister to influence the appointment and promotion of judges is too strong and needs to be curbed to protect the independence of the judiciary, said Pakatan Harapan parties.

DAP said the matter should be included in its election manifesto.

PKR’s N. Surendran said the prime minister has the power to appoint judges as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong was required to act on the advice of the prime minister under the federal constitution.

“Article 122B as it stands, gives the power to appoint judges to the prime minister. This is because by virtue Article 40(1), the (Yang di-Pertuan) Agong is bound by the prime minister’s advice.” Read more

An Independent Judiciary is Indispensable to the Rule of Law — The Malaysian Bar

Source: The Malaysian Bar

Statement dated 8 May 2017

The Malaysian Bar hails the landmark judgment by the Federal Court in Semenyih Jaya Sdn Bhd v Pentadbir Tanah Daerah Hulu Langat & Another [2017] 1 LNS 496, dated 20 April 2017.  The Federal Court unanimously held that Parliament does not have the power to amend the Federal Constitution to the effect of undermining the doctrine of separation of powers and the independence of the Judiciary, despite the amendment to Article 121(1) of the Federal Constitution (“Article 121(1)”) in 1988.

Article 121(1) had been amended to remove the words “the judicial power of the Federation shall be vested in two High Courts”, thus deleting the provision that the judicial power of the Federation vested in the Judiciary.  Instead, the amended Article 121(1) stipulates that “the High Courts and inferior courts shall have such jurisdiction and powers as may be conferred by or under federal law”.

Read more

ASEAN Members Should Develop Baseline Of Jurisprudence To Strength Ahrd – CJ

Source: Bernama

Tun Arifin Zakari - Pic from Bernama.

Tun Arifin Zakari – Pic from Bernama.

KUALA LUMPUR, March 13 (Bernama) — Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria has urged ASEAN members to develop a baseline of jurisprudence if the grouping is serious in its aim to strength the implementation of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD).

He said that development should be commonly acknowledged and accepted by ASEAN Member States (AMS) to ensure uniformity in the application of the AHRD.

“While the AHRD has been in existence for almost five years now, there is a dearth of commentaries or jurisprudential articles to explain how the rights stated therein, are to be interpreted or implemented,” he added.

Arifin was making his opening statement at the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission of Human Rights (AICHR) Judicial Colloquium On The Sharing of Good Practices Regarding International Human Rights held at a hotel here today.

He said in order for the AHRD to be useful to ASEAN peoples, it was time the relevant ASEAN bodies such as AICHR led the way in guiding the region. Read more

Article 121 amendment illegal, says ex-judge

Source: FMT News

Gopal Sri Ram says changes in 1988, which effectively removed the independence of the judiciary, is illegal because it cuts across basic structure of written Federal Constitution. Pic from FMT News.

Gopal Sri Ram says changes in 1988, which effectively removed the independence of the judiciary, is illegal because it cuts across basic structure of written Federal Constitution. Pic from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: The amendment to Article 121 of the Federal Constitution in 1988 has effectively stripped the judiciary of its independence, a retired Federal Court judge says.

Gopal Sri Ram said the amendment to remove the phrase “judicial power of the Federation” during the term of former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad restricted the judiciary, and thus had ruined the constitutional scheme of Malaysia.

“As a result, the Federal Court in a murder case of a teenager held that the court only has such powers and jurisdiction that Parliament allows it to have,” he told FMT.

Sri Ram said this in response to an observation made by Navi Pillay, a former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights that Malaysia did not have an independent judiciary.

At a talk in Penang last week, Pillay who now sits on the constitutional court of South Africa, said the jurisdiction of the Malaysian judiciary was circumscribed by Parliament through that amendment in 1988. Read more