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Trying Times for M'sian Gov. in Courts
By Jalil Hamid

12/6/2001 4:33 pm Tue

[Kerajaan nampaknya semakin tercabar sekarang ini berikutan keputusan bersejarah Hakim Hishamuddin mengenai ISA dan hakim Muhammad Kamil mengenai pengundi hantu. Dollah Badawi nampaknya seperti menghina mahkamah dengan menyumbat 3 aktivis ke Kamunting dan cuma membebaskan dua sahaja aktivis (Raja Petra dan Pak Din) selepas Gobalakrishnan dan Ghani terpaksa dibebaskan oleh mahkamah. Polis sekarang ini berdepan dengan Hakim Dzaiddin sendiri yang telah masuk campur. [Rujuk KM2 4655: Lapuran AP]

Sekarang isu rawatan luar kepada Anwar bergegar kembali kerana kerajaan sebenarnya tidak berhak (mengikut undang-undang) untuk menyekat Anwar daripada mendapat rawatan luar. Kerajaan BN/Umno mungkin akan teraib dan kecundang juga di sini kerana Suhakam sendiri menyetujui rawatan luar ini. Sekali lagi jika hakim yang adil mengadili kes ini Mahathir akan teraib dan lebam lagi. - Editor]

10 Jun 2001

Trying times for Malaysian government in courts

By Jalil Hamid

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Twice in 10 days the Malaysian government has found itself uncharacteristically on the wrong end of a judge's ruling, cheering critics who have doubted the independence of the country's judiciary.

On Friday, a judge in the far-flung eastern state of Sabah, on Borneo island, annulled a ruling coalition candidate's victory in a state assembly constituency during elections two years ago.

It was proved names of non-existent voters and foreigners appeared on the electoral roll.

On May 30, a judge in Shah Alam, near Kuala Lumpur, freed two opposition activists locked up under the dreaded Internal Security Act (ISA), which allows detention without trial.

In between, the government was also told it had no legal right to stop jailed former Finance Minister Anwar Ibrahim from going abroad for surgery on a slipped disc which has confined him to a wheelchair.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has brushed off the rebuke from the Malaysian Human Rights Commission, known as SUHAKAM, but its recommendation still surprised critics who had thought an agency established by parliament a year ago lacked backbone.


In the latest upset for the authorities, the Sabah judge, Justice Muhammad Kamil Awang, said he ignored a telephoned instruction to drop the case without a hearing.

"God has given me the strength and fortitude, as a lesser mortal, to act without fear or favour, for fear of a breach of oath of office and sacrifice justice, and above all to truly act as a judge and not a "yes-man"," Muhammad said in his ruling.

Opposition leaders and legal experts praised Justice Muhammad, who retires next month, while Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi said the Barisan Nasional coalition accepted the judge's decision.

"The yet another triumph for the resurgence of judicial independence in Malaysia," said Param Cumaraswamy, the United Nation's special rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers.

"The judge's remarks, amongst others, on the telephone directive he received to strike out the petition are profound," he said in a statement.

Cumaraswamy had also been fulsome in praise for Hishamudin Mohd Yunus, the judge who released two Anwar supporters.

Hishamudin blasted the police, reminding them they were answerable to the constitution, and not the ISA.

He also called for parliament to review whether a law framed during British colonial rule and used against communist insurgents during the early years of independence, was "really relevant to the present-day situation" in Malaysia.

While Hishamudin won widespread plaudits, one of Mahathir's advisers said he went too far in calling for a review of the ISA.


Chief Justice Mohamed Dzaiddin Abdullah vowed to restore battered public confidence in the judiciary when he took office in December.

The main cause celebre for the opposition, aside from Anwar himself, has become the abolition of the ISA.

The authorities locked up 10 pro-Anwar activists in early April, accusing them of planning a campaign of violence to topple the government.

The authorities freed two men after Judge Hishamudin had freed the first two, but Badawi has given the police clearance to hold four others for up to two more years. The authorities have not said what they intend to do with the two other detainees.

Anwar is serving 15 years for s###my and corruption convictions he says were fabricated to stop a challenge to Mahathir. The prime minister says all Anwar's trials were fair.